Cinematic Releases: Life of the VP: Vice (2018) Reviewed

Director Adam McKay returns with a new film that once again chronicles the early 2000s. His latest is a project that chronicles the life of Vice President Dick Cheney, the senseless deaths of thousands, and the moments leading up to a damning financial meltdown. We also get to experience the mortal tragedy all over again as Cheney and his all powerful hand used that crisis to fuel the war machine and to also mislead the citizens of our great country. Using a neatly rendered cinematic style, Vice flies between time periods showing us his early days, the dramatics over his daughter's homosexuality and the way that our government can so easily swindle us with propaganda. 

Through a watchful eye, McKay once again delivers on his promise of tearing down reality and turning it into a semi-satirical story that offers a cold, harsh look at how things actually happened. While this isn't a completely scathing look at Cheney and the George W. Bush White House, it is an offering replete with the same mechanisms as his last movie, The Big Short. It's never nasty. He doesn't ever really paint Cheney as a horrible person. In retrospect, he's shown as a great, supportive father. McKay just gives us the known facts while taking a few minor jabs at how our system works. 

So you said you had an extra heart?
I'll trade you a gallon of uranium and ten Tomahawk missiles. Deal?

Not only does he match the wit of his previous film, he carefully crafts a highly edited biopic that mixes elements of Cheney's political career, his personal life, and the health issues that continue to haunt him. In an era when the political world that surrounds us is in full meltdown mode, Vice offers up a heaping dose that lets us see exactly how we got here. Tearing down the walls between reality and fiction, Vice is categorically one of the best features of 2018 that will definitely see a few nods coming the way of Christian Bale for his spot on work as Cheney. Rounded out by a cast that features Amy Adams, Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell, Tyler Perry and many more, this project is a looking glass into a world we don't often see with such detail. 

If anything, Vice is less an indictment of Cheney and the calculated manipulations he brought to the government, but is more so a look at how misguided our government can be. Allowing its staff to have one hand in the cookie jar making millions off of arms deals while in the employ of the people of the U.S.A. is a bad look for our leaders. McKay uses the visage of Cheney's life to critically assault corporatism and the elite that take advantage of power. If anything can be said, this is a fair view that looks at all sides of the coin while it lets its audience become more aware of what happens behind the scenes. 

As great as the film is, some of the editing and the non-conforming sequence might throw some for a loop. McKay is a whip smart creator that knows how to go for the gusto. Using this amazing cast to their full potential, with an absolutely profound performance from Bale, Vice spends its time wisely. The movie serves a multitude of purposes as it's a carefully scripted biopic camouflaged as a mainstream release. If you like Cheney or don't, you should definitely see this one for the awesome acting and great make-up work. 

Chris George