Vice: Christian Bale intensely captures Dick Cheney’s tame greatness in Adam McKay’s biopic.

Dick Cheney; Vice President to George W. Bush. My knowledge of American history is very limited so I won’t go too political with this one. However, after watching this, I have gained an interest in who the man was and still is. My interest peaks when it’s an untold true story so I’m all ears. With the current status that America is in with Trump calling a national emergency to build a wall around Mexico, then Cheney can’t be portrayed as a bad person, right?

Vice – the story of Dick Cheney (Christian Bale), an unassuming bureaucratic Washington insider, who quietly works his way up through the ranks. It wasn’t all plain sailing, Cheney gave up, he quit Yale University and became an alcoholic whilst working in putting up pylons in the desert. When his wife, Lynne (Amy Adams) picks him up and forces him to focus on his life, he realises he has to change. From starting off as a lackey to Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell) to wielding immense power as Vice President to George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell). With Bush allowing Cheney to be his vice, he single-handedly manages to reshape a country.

Writer-director Adam McKay, previously known for his work on The Big Short, has created a humorous, hard-hitting biopic of the former vice president. The way in which McKay has constructed this untold true story has twisted arms and confused many but that’s what is so ingeniously clever about it. When you see the words ‘true story’, you instantaneously think that every bit of information must be true. McKay used this to his advantage to build his humour upon. He didn’t try to predict what actually happened at the points in which were missing but made-up a comedic situation to inject laughs into a very political situation. The carrying voice-over from Jesse Plemons as Kurt was initially distracting, you struggle to understand what his implementation to the narrative was but are genuinely mind-blown into why he’s there in the first place. McKay’s writing all comes into one and giving it a chance will not leave you disappointed.

One person who cannot be ignored is Christian Bale. His commitment to the role is beyond outstanding. This is not the first time he has dramatically transformed into a character. The Machinist would be one of his most memorable, to the point he nearly became anorexic for how skinny he become. For the role of Dick Cheney, Bale put on a whopping 40 pounds and said “You eat a lot of pies, you eat whatever’s handy. That’s what you do”, according to Yahoo Entertainment. Bale takes the definition of method acting to the next level, he may put on the pounds but that just adds to what a great actor he is. Additionally, Adams, Carell and Rockwell all put in impressive performances to support Bale in his endeavours. It’s difficult for the support to be noticed when you have an actor so committed to the game in Christian Bale, that your focus is simply on his brilliance.

Coming out of this, I was mesmerised by the editing, stunned by the plot and in awe of Bale’s performance. Without delving into too many spoilers, you are shocked into how Dick Cheney got so far up the political chain and you learn so much more about the politics of America. The lies, the deceitfulness, the back-stabbing – it highlights the harsh reality of politics but with McKay’s humorous influence, it takes the edge off of it just being about a bunch of men and women fighting for power. Vice is a sure contender for the top prize at the Oscars this year but Christian Bale deserves the recognition for his acting and commitment to the role of Dick Cheney. I sure could not handle all of the pies he has eaten over the last year, I can barely eat one let alone two.


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