Mr. Movie

Mr. Movie: ‘Vice’ is filmmaker’s take on recent history

“VICE” official trailer

VICE explores the epic story about how Dick Cheney, a bureaucratic Washington insider, quietly became the most powerful man in the world as vice-president to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today.
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VICE explores the epic story about how Dick Cheney, a bureaucratic Washington insider, quietly became the most powerful man in the world as vice-president to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today.

‘Vice’

“Vice” is a biopic about the life of former Vice President Dick Cheney. It is done by writer-director Adam McKay (“The Big Short”) and follows Cheney from a drunken party animal tossed out of Yale for too much partying to the height of power.

McKay’s movie basically says Dick Cheney was power-hungry, big-business loving and war-mongering and that he had total control of President George W. Bush and his administration and got that power through methods often used by dictators. To prove his premise, McKay shows how Cheney interacted with those who wielded power from the 1970s to the end of George W. Bush’s administration.

They range from the aforementioned W. to George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford to Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell.

Christian Bale gained a ton of weight and looks astonishingly like the former vice president. Other cast members do equally mind-boggling transformations. The best of the bunch — even topping Bale — is Sam Rockwell’s George W. Bush. Though his face is a little too skinny and his body a little too angular, Rockwell nails Bush’s looks, voice and mannerisms.

He very well could add another supporting actor Golden Globe, Oscar and other awards to go with those he won for a his work last year in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Steve Carell is also quite good as Cheney buddy, and former Bush defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Again, the look, mannerisms and all are perfect.

This is a political movie. Yes, it is entertaining and you’ll laugh a lot. But it’s still a political movie. Whether biased left or biased to the right, I hate reviewing them. This one is biased left.

Before you have a cow about my using the word “biased” and start ranting that I’m a frothing conservative, I’m neither liberal nor conservative. My politics run pretty much in the middle, and I’m issue-oriented and pretty open-minded.

Considering the gravity of much of the content, McKay’s script is laugh out loud funny. In interviews McKay has said his movie really isn’t a comedy. While he may not think it is a comedy, “Vice” is very, very funny.

Film - Vice(3)
Christian Bale stars as Dick Cheney, left, and Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney in “Vice.” The film was nominated for a Golden Globe award for best motion picture musical or comedy. The 76th Golden Globe Awards will be held Sunday, Jan. 6. Matt Kennedy AP

Humor is one thing. Truth is totally different. McKay contends he did a lot of research on Cheney. It has been reported that he even hired reporters to contact reporters who covered Cheney over the years.

I spent a lot of time researching the film and found exactly what I thought I’d find. Some of McKay’s movie is probably true. Some of it is pure speculation. While “Vice” isn’t close to as biased as — let’s say — a Michael Moore documentary, it is biased and biased to the left.

Two concerns. Rather than do their own research, today’s younger audiences are going to buy McKay’s movie as gospel. The second concern? Conservatives won’t even give it a shot.

I find both scenarios sad. And that leads to my bottom-line. “Vice” is — even if deemed a fairytale by conservatives — a lot of fun and the acting alone makes this one worth the price of the ticket.

▪ Rated R for mature themes and language. It’s playing at the AMC Classic Kennewick 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

▪ Rating: 4 out of 5

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