The political life of Dick Cheney, from his humble beginning as a Capitol intern to clerk, and up the ladder throughout three presidential administrations, is explored with irreverent storytelling.
Produced by Brad Pitt, Vice is a smart political satire, leaning heavily to the left, but it doesn’t lose its mordant humor in the process. It is written and directed by Adam McKay, who also wrote and directed The Big Short. Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, McKay and Christian Bale all re-teamed for this effort. Vice is not as incisive as Death of Stalin (See Snapshots - #45) but it is funny, especially when it doesn’t take its subject matter too seriously or dares its audience to consider certain claims that may be consider outrageous—if we don’t take into account the declaration of war that were the events of 9/11—, such as that Cheney wanted a war since the early days of George W. Bush’s Presidency and that he did his darn best to get one.
Only a chameleon actor like Christian Bale could inhabit the role of Cheney body and soul. He has disappeared into roles before. He did it in The Fighter and won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the process. He transformed yet again for American Hustle, but in Vice, Christian Bale’s transformation is uncanny: physical, mannerisms, speech pattern. He looks and sounds like the real Dick Cheney.
Amy Adams and Christian Bale have worked together before in The Fighter and American Hustle. Vice marks their third collaboration. Amy Adams has transformed as well for this role but I’m not sure it’s all physical; aging effects through hair, makeup and prosthetics accomplished the also uncanny transformation. As Lynne Cheney, Amy Adams is a force to be reckoned with. In a star-studded ensemble, Adams gives the other actors a run for their money. Adams is one of the strongest contenders for Best Supporting Actress this season, if Regina King, who is making waves in award after award show, doesn’t beat her to it.Not only Christian Bale and Amy Adams nail their performances and look strikingly like their real-life counterparts, so do Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld, Tyler Perry as General Colin Powell, and Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush.