There are some schools of thought that encourage the adherence to rules, while others believe that rules box you in; Vice’s director, Adam McKay, believes you should burn the box and run wild.
Vice follows the rise of Vice President Dick Cheney (Christian Bale), and the pivotal role he played in shaping the history and politics of the United States of America and, with it, the entire world.
The feature begins during Cheney’s younger days as a drunk Yale dropout and follows him and his family from one position of power to another, until he reaches the position of Vice President. This is when the film really kicks into gear.
Cheney gets the call to discuss becoming George W. Bush’s (Sam Rockwell) vice president fifty minutes into the two-hour feature. Those fifty minutes are thrilling and speak volumes about Cheney’s character, but many viewers will not have the attention span nor stamina required to get through half the film, and still pay close attention to the intricate events to come.
However, the film keeps it very entertaining with its use of comedy; the film seizes and uses every chance to be silly to the absolute most, all thanks to director Adam McKay’s stylised vision. Vice is filled with these utilised opportunities for comedy, making it stand out from most films in the biopic genre. The use of comedy, however, does not overshadow the kind of drama that one would expect from a biopic. That being said, the combination of drama, comedy, history, and politics might leave you either interested or merely confused.
As for the acting, Christian Bale is utterly and completely phenomenal; he completely embodies his character, does so much with so little, and evokes layer upon layer of complex emotional reactions from an audience who would otherwise not care about who Dick Cheney is. Bale outdoes himself over and over again and, this time, he is absolutely deserving of a standing ovation. Amy Adams’ performance is also compelling; she is not at all overshadowed by Bale’s fantastic performance. Adams provides strong character stances, consistency, and a well-rounded portrayal of her character.
Playing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Steve Carrel provides a cartoonish performance, but somehow makes it believable and gives audiences several laughs along the way. Sam Rockwell’s performance was contrastingly weak, overdone, and shallow, especially as there is an inevitable comparison between his performance and those of his co-stars.
Is Vice a good movie? Very subjective. Is it a novel experience? Definitely. Is it worth seeing just for the sake of Christian Bale’s performance? You bet.