vice movie review

With The Big Short, the incredible depiction of the international banking crisis, in the rearview mirror, Adam McKay is back with another look into a dark and murky world. This time is the life and career of Dick Chaney, best known as George W. Bush’s Vice President. 

Who is Dick Chaney?

Did I know a whole lot about Dick Chaney before watching Vice? No. I knew the name but I’m not even sure I knew he was a Vice President – granted my American politics knowledge isn’t the best. I certainly didn’t know he was a businessman who pulled the strings of the 43rd President when George W. Bush rose to power, seemingly all to benefit himself.

What is Vice About?

In short, you’d be forgiven for thinking Vice is all about Dick Chaney. Much of the movie focuses on his rise from practically nothing to being one of the most powerful men in the world. Vice shows how he played people, how his wife drove him and the great, often evil, lengths Chaney went through to rise to power.

There are moments where you see the family man, immediately followed by some of the most heinous acts known to man. Vice shows how Chaney was capable of being a fantastic father, willing to make sacrifices for his family while ordering the bombing of families in Cambodia. 

a failed democracy where one man can have as much power as any dictator

Ultimately though, Vice is not about Dick Chaney. It’s a devastating assessment of American politics, a failed democracy where one man can have as much power as any dictator.

Is Vice Any Use?

I left this screening angry at how one man could pull the strings of the world, much to his own benefit at the cost of millions of lies. Throughout Vice we see the damage that Chaney inflicted on the people of America, from helping Fox News come to fruition as a conservative spam outlet to using focus groups to pinpoint terminology people could get on board with to support horrible moments in history.

I left angry, but I left delighted I had watched it. I studied history and love a good documentary, but I also see social media rising and understand that the attention of younger generations is very hard to grab.

Adam McKay’s style is distinctive. Actors constantly breaking the fourth wall as the director uses enough artistic license to splice the facts with entertaining uses of pop culture and a few memes too. Vice is one of those movies where you learn something without even knowing it. Actually, you learn something while having a few laughs along the way, because Vice does dish out some proper belly laughs too.

Sorry, but learning and laughing is a great thing.

We Need To Mention Christian Bale

Christian Bale should go down as one of the greatest actors we’ve ever been lucky enough to see on this planet. First of all, yes he did gain a shedload of weight to portray Chaney.

That’s just the start of it though. He’s captivating. Any actor who can bring me to feeling sorry for someone who, in my opinion, is a monster, has done incredibly well. While there are impressive performances across the board from the likes of Steve Carrell and Amy Adams, Bale just steals the show. 

I’m not surprised because he is amazing.

If you’re looking for a movie that’ll actually make you a little smarter about how the world works, go see Vice. Just be prepared to be a little angry when you leave. Vice is in Irish cinemas from January 25.

Vice Trailer

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