Vice ★★★

The bulk of Vice is fine. This is a biopic of Dick Cheney, and for the most part, I walked out with a better understanding of the effects of his life rather than the man himself. Sure, the editing is herky jerky and two (small) parts standout as being egregious. (Those are: the Shakespearean scene and that final joke. I don’t have a favorite action car franchise, I have family!)

Nicholas Britell did his best House Of Cards impersonation with this score. It’s wild how distinct the If Beale Street Could Talk compositions were and here it’s more competent than memorable. Speaking of impersonations, Christian Bale’s of Dick Cheney is phenomenal. But at its best, it does feel like a charicture. It’s his repeated ticks that’ll be remembered, not his point of view. (Which is more a criticism of the writing than the performance.)

I thought Vice was better than The Big Short with its more distinct focus on Cheney rather than a moment in history. This is a dark comedy that is definitely dismal but felt more amusing than hilarious. 2018’s The Death Of Stalin is an example of a dark comedy that excels in its delivery. Like The Big Short, Vice is very explain-y. For trying to explain things like The Unitary Executive Theory, it does so in an easy to follow way that can feel belittling, but that’s the nature of its comedic tone and trying to be understood by a broad audience. On one hand, there is a condescending nature to Vice, on the other, we are the country that elected George Bush Sr./Jr. and Donald Trump within my lifetime.

I found the humanizing of Cheney most interesting. Instead of relegating him as a Darth Vader figure, he was a real man whose decision making lead to the death of a nearly million people. He isn’t a villain slathered in black coats, he’s a rich man who will never suffer any consequences for his actions. Belittling these people and treating them like idiots is missing the point. They’re smart and will continue driving death into our lives until we stop them. How? I dunno :(

Vice isn’t exactly a drama or a comedy. It’s a wildly well done power point presentation on the horrors of America and its residents thirst for power and control. Motherfuck Dick Cheney 😎

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