Title: Vice (2018)
Director: Adam McKay (Step Brothers)
Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell, Alison Pill, Tyler Perry, Eddie Marsan
Plot: Tells the true story of American political figure and one-time Vice President Dick Cheney (Bale), whose role in US politics and war time operations is highly underrated.
“We gonna do this thing, or what?”
Review by Eddie on 14/01/2019
There was genuine surprise in 2015 when filmmaker Adam McKay delivered multi-Oscar nominated dramedy The Big Short, with people shocked that the man responsible for Talladega Nights and Step Brothers was more than just a slacker comedy kingpin.
Examining the very un-funny true story of America’s housing market collapse and the greed that led to the occurrence, The Big Short was a sharply written, solidly acted and energetically put together piece of film-making, that led to McKay duly being praised for his efforts.
For any fans of The Big Short, McKay’s newest event picture Vice will feel instantly familiar, as the director and writer takes the same approach that worked for The Big Short as he examines the life and times of famous American political figure and one time Vice President Dick Cheney.
Cut very much from the same cloth, Vice sadly doesn’t feel as naturalistic or free flowing as it’s predecessor, as it looks to instill a rather depressing tale with the same smarts and energy as McKay’s early venture, but instead finds itself feeling forced and more manufactured in the process.
Vice is still far from a bad film in the typical sense of the word and it’s at times confronting and eye-opening in it’s bleakly realized view on America’s political landscape and its examination of dangerous power trips but there’s a lot of Vice that feels like it lands with a thud, while the black humor employed by McKay and his team only works half of the time.
Led by a star-studded cast that’s anchored by yet another physically committed Christian Bale turn (one that will get an Oscar nomination but likely to fall short against Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born turn) that’s ably supported by typically strong performances by Amy Adams, Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell, Vice is an assured Hollywood production but it’s one that runs before it walks, as it rushes along its way without ever creating a heart and soul to build upon.
McKay himself has claimed that Vice is to be seen as a pure comedy but upon viewing it’s hard to take this statement on face value, as the film deals with a number of heavy and complicated issue’s, a number of which are explained in entertaining and easy to understand fashion, and when all mixed in together, it creates a sometimes rocky affair that drags just as much as it flies.
Most glaringly, despite Bale’s and the other cast members solid acting turns, by the time Vice’s two hours plus are up you don’t actually feel like you know Cheney that much better from when you started, with McKay frequently consumed with other agenda items, it seems to be that the man behind the headlines was an illusive one to pin down, meaning those seeking a genuinely well-rounded account of the man will be left sorely disappointed.
Final Say –
Finding entertainment in a far from entertaining subject or subject matters, Vice is eminently watchable but undeniably underwhelming all things considered. After the roaring success of The Big Short, Vice sees McKay regress slightly but surely, with the talented filmmaker needing to make sure his next mix of political commentary and comedy finds it’s heart before it heads on it’s merry way
3 mid-film credits out of 5