Vice ★★

Bringing on silver screen the life story of the most powerful Vice President in United States history, Vice is a messy, fragmented & unnecessarily convoluted biopic that never gets its narrative structure right, suffers from myriads of issues, and is redeemed to only an extent by Christian Bale's transformative performance.

Vice tells the story of Dick Cheney, a bureaucratic Washington insider who silently makes his way through America's political hierarchy and ends up wielding more power than anyone in his position ever did during his tenure as Vice President to George W. Bush. The plot covers the life & career of the notorious figure responsible for many currently active global conflicts.

Written & directed by Adam McKay (best known for The Big Short), the film aims for a stylish depiction of events yet executes it in such an incoherent fashion that the story becomes inconvenient after a while. The non-chronological arrangement has no valid reason to exist, the back-n-forth storytelling only gets more frustrating with time, and McKay's direction is terribly unfocused.

While the film offers a critical stance on Dick Cheney, the darts it keeps throwing rarely hit the target and when they do, they lack the required firepower. Editing is an absolute mess, never really managing to smoothen the bumpy ride at any given point as the story simply hops from one event to another without any sense of direction. Some key events one expects the film to explore in detail are only glanced at while many trivial stuff are retained in the final print.

The only saving grace is the cast and the performances they put in but their input isn't enough to make up for all the obvious shortcomings. Christian Bale is unrecognisable as Dick Cheney, adding yet another body transformation act to his résumé, and it's difficult to look away when he's on screen. Amy Adams also exhibits a strong presence in the role of Lynne Cheney while both Sam Rockwell & Steve Carell provide good support in their respective roles of George W. Bush & Donald Rumsfeld.

On an overall scale, Vice is erratic, muddled & utterly disjointed, and is marred by several vices of its own makings. Desperately looking for laughs amidst the horror yet failing to slot them in the right place at the right time whenever an opportunity calls for it, Adam McKay's latest is an end product of awful writing & poor direction that attempts to run before it can walk, and other than Christian Bale's physical commitment to his role — something the actor has done throughout his career — everything about Vice is forgettable.

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