Vice: Film Review

Vice received the most nominations for this year’s Golden Globes so I just assumed it would be a movie I would like and I was excited to check it out – so naturally, I was surprised that I didn’t like the movie much at all.

This comedy-drama, written and directed by The Big Short’s Adam McKay, stars Christian Bale as Dick Cheney and charts his rise from lowly drunk, getting a DUI in 1963, to his entry into political office under Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell) and depicts how he becomes Vice President to George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) and helps orchestrate the War on Terror.

Bale is excellent, as expected, as is the ever reliable Amy Adams as his wife Lynne, so I can appreciate their awards nominations/wins but I cannot fathom why the movie itself has been so recognised. The tone is completely off. This shouldn’t have been a comedy. It’s not an out and out comedy but some bits are played for laughs and that doesn’t sit right with me when the film also shows snippets of torture, warfare and 9/11. That stuff isn’t funny. It’s serious and his story should have been depicted in a heavy political drama which reflected the ramifications of his decisions.

I’m not well informed about this era of political history so I could not tell you how accurate it is, but I suspect it’s taken some liberties and glossed over some stuff. It’s very liberal and obviously takes that stance so it will definitely piss Republicans off. I went into this wanting to learn the full story but I came away still not really knowing what happened and how he managed to get away with it.

With The Big Short, McKay took a complicated topic and managed to explain it in a way that the everyman could digest and understand. It was clever and it got away with being funny because it was so ridiculous. The Cheney story is ridiculous but not in a laughable way. That guy was evil! Also, there was a lot of political jargon that was said in a really quick or mumbled way so I couldn’t always follow it.

It also makes very bizarre style choices that made the narrative quite chaotic. It was very random, with weird, jarring images flashing up on screen, and quite unnecessary. Why did we need a scene of them speaking in Shakespeare?! Jesse Plemons‘ voiceover and subsequent piece to cameras were meta and quite lazy storytelling-wise. The film covers a huge time period, so we first meet Bale playing Cheney in his 20s which was disconcerting. Couldn’t we have had a younger actor for the earlier scenes?! The film also dragged and I was ready for it to conclude.

Bale deserves his Golden Globe because his performance is spot-on and his weight gain was crazy. Adams was excellent and they had top support from Carell, Lily Rabe, Allison Pill and Eddie Marsan. I didn’t buy Rockwell as Bush though. It never felt true to me and I can’t see why he’s being nominated.

Vice tells an interesting story but in the wrong way. The tone wasn’t right, it was too busy and focussed on style over substance. What a shame.

In cinemas from Friday 25th January 


  1. […] genuinely do not get why Rockwell is being recognised for his portrayal of George W. Bush in Vice. Bush is a very famous person and I didn’t think he nailed it. I didn’t think he was […]


  2. […] one for Best Picture. I enjoyed all other Best Picture nominees more than this (with the except of Vice – […]


  3. […] leaves Black Panther and Vice. I didn’t like Vice and I thought it was told in a messy way so I was surprised it was even […]


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