FILM REVIEW: VICE (15)
SHOWCASE CINEMA DE LUX PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW
CAST: CHRISTIAN BALE, AMY ADAMS, STEVE CARELL, BILL PULLMAN, SAM ROCKWELL, ALISON PILL, TYLER PERRY, SHEA WHIGHAM & EDDIE MARSAN
RUNNING TIME: 2 HRS 12 MINS
DIRECTOR: ADAM McKAY
Who is Richard Bruce Cheney?
You might know him as the guy who Sacha Baron Cohen recently persuaded to sign a ‘waterboarding’ kit.
You may know him as the politician that shot a fellow quail hunter in the face.
But chances are you probably haven’t heard of him at all.
That’s because Cheney (Christian Bale) was an extremely secretive man. The Vice President was a shadowy puppeteer, pulling on the strings of George W Bush’s (Sam Rockwell) – and thus having a huge impact on world events.
An early scene in this biopic takes place on 9/11 during the American terror attacks, with Cheney giving Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell) ‘presidential authority’ to shoot down any plane that may have been hijacked. He does this without even consulting with Bush.
How is someone able to make such an executive decision, alongside numerous other legislative powers that exceeded those of the President? All is revealed in the movie.
It’s during the 9/11 scene that a voice-over rather controversially explains how the Vice President saw the disaster as an opportunity – allowing him to increase his power and make a considerable amount of money.
The writer/director (Adam McKay) doesn’t pull any punches – reminding us through graphic montages of the death and destruction that took place during Cheney’s watch.
And yes, you heard me right, this was created by McKay, the man who made goofy comedies such as Step Brothers and Anchorman. Of course, we have seen more high-brow material from the filmmaker in recent years. He won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Big Short – with Vice containing the same quirky energy and entertaining ways of simplifying difficult subjects.
Every actor does the character they’re portraying justice but it is Bale – who has already notched a Golden Globe Best Acting gong and has been Oscar-nominated too – who deserves a special mention. The actor has given his all in previous roles. He dropped an astounding sixty pounds for his role in The Machinist in 2004, and built up a ridiculous amount of muscle for The Dark Knight. Here he has gained forty pounds, and went through hours of make-up to have prosthetics added to his new bulked-out physique so he could portray Cheney as accurately as possible. It may be extreme, but with that added weight alongside the talented make-up artists and his incredible acting ability... Bale is the mirror image of Cheney.
Vice has also been nominated for Best Picture and will compete against a whole host of phenomenal movies – including this week’s new release Green Book – and in a year where this prize is up in the air it’s definitely a dark horse... just like Cheney himself.
By Mikey Clarke