Vice ★★★

Christian Bale is fat!

Really fat!

He does know that Robert De Niro wasn't just great in Raging Bull because he moved to Italy for a few months and ate nothing but pasta?

OK, snide remarks aside I actually think the reason this film was somewhat watchable was because I did find him plausible as a slimy Machiavellian power monger. And Amy Adams was pretty good, too. Between the two of them, I was transfixed as I watched them act like a couple of cats tormenting a colony of mice that they had trapped in their kitty litter.

And I guess because I am one of those "bleeding heart liberals" or "progressive" types I was happily ensconced in an echo chamber of my pre-existing beliefs and always near to hand self-righteous outrage. I knew it. Those rich assholes and conservatives are destroying the very fabric of democracy, equality and freedom so that they can "win" politics and accumulate wealth. This film proves it! Maybe.

Otherwise, McKay fails miserably to make human misery funny in Vice. He may have turned the Global Financial Crisis into a comedy special with The Big Short, but despite there being a rich vein of satire to be mined here, all the laughs go thud like a whoppee cushion that they have thrown really hard at the wall but realise too late that it only works when you sit on it.

And the little narrative tricks that he used to insert didactic explanations for complex financial concepts or to give it a little bit of indie cred in his previous film didn't always work here. A couple of them felt like they were created by someone desperate to prove how cool and clever they were but just came off looking a little silly (Shakespeare Soliloquy, anyone?). The frenetic editing that lent an otherwise dry topic some urgency and pace in The Big Short was also completely absent here leaving Vice feeling more than a little enemic.

So, while it is not a completely turgid pile of crap, it does feel like there is a better movie buried in here somewhere. Perhaps with some better writing and better editing this could have been a winner.

And boy is Christian Bale fat!

And he is still not as fat as me!

Fuck, I really got to do something about that...

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