Film – Vice

Film – Vice

Whereas it opens on September 11th 2001, Vice immediately takes us back to introduce Dick Cheney’s to us during his college days. Portrayed as a drunken waste-of-space (similar to the young George W Bush), for me, Vice is set up with the one phrase uttered by his wife:

I can’t go to a big Ivy League school, and I can’t run a company, or be mayor. That’s just the way the world is for a girl. I need you. And right now you are a big fat pissed soaked zero!

Lynne Cheney’s devastating disappointment in him finally motivates Cheney (the unrecognisable Christian Bale) to do better and we watch as his rises all the way to White House power.

We often hear of men who seem to have an intelligent woman as their partner who doesn’t work; I’ve just never heard it being spelt out in this way*. ‘If you have power, people will always try to take it from you. Always’, says Lynne Cheney (Amy Adams) to her daughters. At one point, she steps in for him on the campaign trail and safe to say, does a much better job.

We weave in and out of the little windowless back offices at the White House spotting the wheeling and dealing and frankly everything there is to despise about politics – lying, manipulating and self-seeking.

Cheney eventually steps down from politics to protect his gay daughter’s privacy. However, post-big White House jobs, Cheney is working as a CEO, living quietly in the country until he is enticed back into power by Sam Rockwell’s George W. Bush. W is convinced he is the only running mate for him (or at least someone has convinced him of this). Cheney accepts knowing he will be really running the country, making all the decisions without having either the credit or adverse publicity. W is glad of the release from his responsibilities and is depicted as only wanting to please his father anyway. Rockwell clearly had fun recreating the embarrassing side of George W Bush (so that’s most of it). There’s worthy support throughout from Steve Carrell’s Donald Rumsfeld too.

The film is narrated and we have to wait right till the end to find out why this character called Kurt is shown telling us the back story.

The biggest laugh (there are few) came early on when Cheney is on his deathbed. So, Vice does nothing to lift our spirits in the current climate, but it does give us a greater understanding of how we came to be where we are. And how we can get to a better place as it’s hard to see how things can be worse than there are on either side of the Atlantic.


*Although that notion goes out of the window when I see On the Basis of Sex).


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