Vice ★★½

I really wanted to like this a lot more than I did.

The plus side is the cast.  Christian Bale is pitch perfect as VP Dick Cheney, Amy Adams can segue right into Lady Macbeth, and the smaller roles are all uniformly well cast and impeccably acted.

But for all that, the film is dramatically inert.  On a different day I might easily have “rested my eyes” for a chunk.  I didn’t look at my watch, in part because it’s a biopic for evemts I loved through so I always knkw how far I am from the end.  But I shifted in my seat. I thought of dozing.  I watched from a distance.

There’s not much humor, just one scene of ordering extraordinary rendition off a restaurant menu that had a sardonic tone.  But too often — well, if you want to see Cheney lacks heart and soul you can’t do it any more bluntly than we see here. 

The Adam McKay that did The Big Short should’ve gotten more out of this, just by applying to Cheney’s  coziness with Haliburton and other fossil fuel companies some of the same gleeful technique of The Big Short.  But it’s all bread crumbs, here a casual reference to the exit package being bigger than expected, there a fuck to a senator holding hearings on the no bid contracts Halliburton could use as cover for slurping from the public trough, there a scene of Cheney spiking an investigation into the sordid mess.  But nothing to speak of about Cheney’s actual role at Haliburton, no stitching it together.  If it were a novel by a wannabe client of mine I would be commentimg how the clothes ain’t hanging on a clothesline, how it’s incident without being plot.  

Bohemian Rhapsody made up some shit, but that’s part of why it ultimately achieves transcendence. This is a souffle that collapses under the weight of its desires.