Vice film review: McKay uses his trademark wit and eccentric style

Christian Bale and Sam Rockwell in Vice.
Christian Bale and Sam Rockwell in Vice.

USING his trademark wit and eccentric style, writer and director Adam McKay’s follow up to The Big Short delves into the life of Dick Cheney and his rise to Vice President during the George W Bush administration.

In a complete transformation, Christian Bale plays Cheney, who starts out in life as a drunken youth failing college until he is pushed to make something of himself by soon-to-be wife and childhood sweetheart Lynne (Amy Adams).

He joins an internship program for Congress, meets mentor Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell) and from there begins a long career in and out of politics.

His career escalates to the appointment to Vice President at the request of Bush (Sam Rockwell) just months before the 9/11 attack.

Vice has a specific message in accusing Dick Cheney as the man responsible for the deaths of thousands in the Iraq War because he wants access to the country’s abundance f oil.

Moreover, the script lays blame at society’s door for letting politicians like Cheney get away with such atrocities through inattention.

Bale is given the space to portray Cheney with nuance as a quiet, but ruthless politician and businessman dedicated to his family.

However, through the voiceover of an initially nameless man, introduced as being “related” to Cheney, the former Vice President is accused as a man with no care for the destruction caused by his actions.

His indifference is made obvious when he non-fatally shoots a man while on a hunt and never apologises.

The film uses visual metaphors, cutting betweens scenes of politicians making decisions and shots of bombs exploding, as the direct consequence of those decisions.

Such an erratic style of editing reminds the audience that this movie is but a representation of the truth.

For those not versed in American politics, Vice reminds the viewer that politicians need to be held accountable, while not offering any solutions.THE ESSENTIALS

Vice (CTC)

Directed by: Adam McKay

Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell

Three and a half stars

Review: Lucy Rutherford

In cinemas December 26