The idea of talking about politics in today’s modern age can have a regular member of the public feel a bit uncomfortable if the message comes off aggressive. The issue with Vice is that it comes off so aggressive and keeps jumping back-and-forth between its themes that it really feels like Hollywood elitism more than anything.
Vice is the story of Dick Cheney’s rise to power as the vice-president of America and the actions that he took to get there.
Despite its problems, there are great performances from both Amy Adams and Christian Bale. Just seeing the transformation that Bale took in order to play this role was jaw-dropping and the conviction that he holds on screen is something to be admired. Amy Adams also holds her own as Lynne Cheney, who not only makes every scene that she’s in more impactful but humanizes such an unknown person in the history of this political figure.
There was also one thing that the show did that was incredibly clever and that came in the middle of the film. Unfortunately, it is one of those moments that should be seen rather than heard. As well as great performances from both Sam Rockwell and Steve Carrell who do give a more round side of President George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld.
The biggest issue of the film though, that takes the rest of it down the tubes, is that this political drama can’t hold onto one continuous theme and that makes it come off as pretentious.
In a successful political film, the talent of the filmmaker comes from showing a side that he holds yet respecting the other oppositional ideology and represents both as two different paths to be taken. The film ultimately must follow the protagonist yet never lets the character disrespect the ideology the antagonist holds with examples such as Thank You for Smoking or All the President’s Men. Vice doesn’t do that.
Vice decides that at one moment, it generally wants audiences to empathize with Cheney’s character and decisions. Yet it then, right after, makes a full scene having Cheney and his employees/friends being portrayed as devils. It makes a viewer feel stupid because they wanted to watch a film and try to connect to the protagonist of the story. If the film does that, it isn’t a failure that the audience didn’t predict what the director was thinking, it is the failure of the director for not providing a better communication of his vision.
All-in-all, anyone who would be interested to know the history of Cheney or are diehard fans of Christian Bale or Amy Adams should watch this film. Though if it is someone who doesn’t want to feel like their at a dinner with an overtly rude uncle who only wants to talk about politics, Vice isn’t the film to watch.