A Film With Which to Laugh, Call Foul, and Most Likely Both at the Same Time: Vice

The Biography, Comedy, Drama, and Satire (BCDS) known as Vice is a really, really good film.  In order to be a great film Vice Writer\Director Adam McKay  (AA The Big Short, Anchorman) would have had to remove one or two of the aforementioned aspects or spent more time crafting Vice before its release.  I will take Vice as it is and you should too.

Hollywood produced BCDS films are usually extremely uneven, and ultimately a weak unsatisfying product.  From this perspective Vice is remarkably fresh.

Vice – in its simplest form – is about Dick Cheney and (in many respects) Dick and Lynne Cheney. The Cheney’s and their family move through relative obscurity to become high profile people (some would argue icons) who’s actions have a heavy influence on our daily lives.  Cheney navigates, negotiates, and interprets his way into becoming the most powerful Vice President in the history of the United States.   Vice presents the Cheney’s in all aspects of BCDS, and it is an enjoyable watch.

Because of public records, the Biography and Drama aspects should be considered relatively accurate.  These scenes are compelling and show a person, couple, and family that is loyal and sincere.  Some scenes are extremely powerful, and reinforce the positive aspects of these people.  Nonetheless, some are sobering and heartbreaking.

The Comedy aspects are funny and well placed. The Satire is hilarious and often completely unfair  – as it should be.  Do the Cheney’s discuss – in bed – their next steps in political life in Shakespearean prose?  Not a chance! However, in Satire they do, and it is over-the-top brilliant.

Are Dick and Lynne Cheney five steps ahead of everyone else?  Are Dick and Lynne Cheney critical thinkers and operational implementer’s?  My guess is they are to the highest degree (right or wrong, good or bad).  Vice presents them as such.  It is up to you to decide the implication.

Christian Bale (as Dick) and Amy Adams (as Lynne) are uncanny in their roles.  The performances by these two are a singular reason to see the film – even if you do not want to watch or deal with any other aspect of Vice.  The performances are solidified by the best makeup, hair work, and coaching as it relates mannerisms and posture I have seen in years – if not ever in film. Adams and Bale have remarkable on-screen chemistry.  Both were highly effective together in American Hustle (2013).

The role of the supporting characters are solidly built, but it might have made for an even better film if they had been developed a just a bit more. Vice is also sprinkled with funny cameo performances and a clever scene in the credits.

The ending scene – a monologue from Cheney – epitomizes Vice and its effectiveness.  Cheney looks us square in the eye and tells us how he see things.  The words and delivery feel 100% Dick Cheney.  My guess is those that have historically supported Cheney’s line of thinking – would easily cheer and defend the statement 100% – with no reason to apologize.  For those that have not historically supported Cheney’s thinking – they would use the statement as evidence to make their case against him.

Jeff’s Thoughts and Worthless Trivia

As many of you know, I am not a straight ticket political party guy. I have voted for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents for office – including the President of the United States.

I like being in the company of people who – while well read, and willing to stand up for what they believe – are willing to listen to opposing positions and the reasoning behind it.

I like people that step back at times and make fun of themselves.

My guess would be that McKay’s politics are liberal and would not like Cheney, but I am not sure that matters when I look at Vice as a film.  If you are making a BCDS you got to throw out your bias to a great degree or you will not make an effective film.  I think Vice is an effective film.

McKay has written and directed some of the silliest scenes in film.  When you add Will Ferrell to the creative mix, many are going to end up completely over the top – many succeeding and failing.  The warehouse\alley fight scene between the news teams in Anchorman is one of the better examples.

American Voters have historically been fickle with Executive Branches who inherit a war and then prosecute; especially if the U.S. starts out as the victim (Pearl Harbor, Marine Barracks in Lebonon, 911).  Cheney’s popularity is perhaps one of the best examples in history.  Highest and lowest rating as a V.P.:  68% and ending up at 13%.

Cheney is pronounced CHEE-KNEE.  The film seems to have missed the pronunciation completely.

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