I. Shank

I. Shank

Ian Shank, Entertainment Writer

“Vice” is a satire of Dick Cheney’s run in government and is the newest film from Adam McKay, director of both “Anchorman” films and the 2015 Academy Award nominee “The Big Short.” It should be noted that “Vice” is a satire that takes aim at both Dick Cheney and certain Republican leaders including Donald Rumsfeld, and George W. Bush. The film isn’t being quite marketed that way (judging by the audience I was with, half knew what they were getting themselves into while half expected a straightforward biopic) which may leave a divide in audiences. George W. Bush is portrayed as a B-level politician that only ran for president to make his father proud, Donald Rumsfeld is portrayed as something akin to The Penguin from the “Batman” comics and movies, and Dick Cheney is portrayed as a heartless man, literally and figuratively (more on that later), who would stop at nothing to get to the top and how Cheney changed the definition of what it meant to be vice-president. One of the best scenes in the movie comes when Cheney is talking to Bush and says that being Vice-President is mainly a “symbolic” job, but he would be willing to be VP if he were able to control multiple sectors of the government including foreign policy. Bush’s response: “Sounds good.”

“Vice” is more of a showcase for McKay’s political biases than telling an overall narrative of a career than spanned decades and multiple presidencies. McKay constantly takes jabs at anything remotely political that he doesn’t agree with. Fox News, George W. Bush, and most Republican ideals are subject to jokes (some cruel and some light-hearted) and scrutiny. As mentioned before, McKay’s views on Cheney’s time in White House are very evident in “Vice.” Cheney is a heartless man in that he uses dirty politics and whatever means to have more power in government, and heartless literally during a scene where the audience sees Cheney undergoing open-heart-surgery with his no longer beating heart lying on a tray beside him.

The highlight of “Vice” is Christian Bale’s performance as Dick Cheney. Bale gained over 45 pounds and did specialized workouts to thicken his neck and other muscles. This, combined with the prosthetics and his acting talents, allows Bale to hide and let Cheney shine through. If it wasn’t for Rami Malek’s performance in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” I would say that Bale would have a lock on the Oscar for Best Actor. Bale should win, but he has some tough competition.

“Vice” also has some very strange editing choices throughout the film, some being better than others. Some footage that would’ve normally ended up on the cutting room floor is left in, conversations are shown again just done differently, and fake end credits run half-way through the film. The mid-film credits are extremely effective causing an immense amount of laughter.

While I personally liked “Vice,” it is a very divisive film which makes it all the more polarizing that it received the multiple Oscar nominations. If you’re able to put aside politics for a minute then “Vice” is definitely worth your time and should be seen in theaters. If not and you disagree with what McKay has to say, then “Vice” should be avoided. . . at all costs.