WARNING – Contains graphic scenes, violence & swearing – some scenes are very confronting.
VICE is a film that is thought provoking & confronting at best. Just plain disturbing at worst. It is one of those rare films that I equally loved & hated, an intense, darkly funny film that is also a masterclass in acting.
Following the rise, fall & rise again of Dick Cheney, from his early 20s through to current day. VICE isn’t chronological rather it jumps all over his life linking his earlier life moments with the massively impactful actions he took.
McKay isn’t just telling Cheney’s life story instead he tries to delve into how Cheney used the power he had, how he got it & why he sought it.
VICE is not for the faint-hearted. Like Cheney, it doesn’t always handle the stress well, having bursts of powerful moments & then moments of quiet overachieving that makes everyone else suffer for it. Director & Writer Adam McKay uses a similar style to his previous outstanding work, The Big Short, but drops all the subtlety. Instead, he uses confronting images, including shots of fishing as a metaphor throughout, leaving me feeling I was being force-fed his agenda for the film rather than allowing the audience to naturally see it for themselves. He overreaches, dragging down what could have been a film that would be applauded for decades to come into something that will be mostly remembered for it’s cast & make-up/costume teams.
There has been much talk about how incredible Christian Bale has been in this & although I would agree with that. His performance truly is one of the best I have ever seen, he manages to inhabit the role completely. VICE also features stellar performances by the entire cast, some of the standouts being Amy Adams, Steve Carrell, Jesse Plemons, Alison Pill, Lily Rabe, Tyler Perry & Sam Rockwell.
However as fantastic as the cast is the true stars of this film are the prosthetic & make-up team!
Lead by Kate Biscoe who has won multiple awards (including an Emmy’s & BAFTA’s) for her work on Behind the Candelabra & Memoirs of a Geisha. She assembled a team that deserves to be recognised for their outstanding work. When a talented team like this are able to turn actors who look nothing like the real people they are portraying into almost exact copies they, combined with such a spectacular cast, become a key reason the performances are as good as they are.
VICE is thought provoking & polarizing so if US politics interests you, graphic scenes don’t bother you & you want to really think this Christmas then VICE is well worth seeing when it comes out on Boxing Day. If you can’t tick all those boxes then I would give it a miss, you can always wait to see some of the, less confronting, spectacular scenes on their own come awards season as many of the cast will undoubtedly be nominated.