By: Reel 127 (Five Beers) –
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Oscars Season!! Vice has long been speculated as a heavy contender for the coveted awards, and with it receiving the most Golden Globe nominations this year I was more than excited to finally see this movie in theaters. What I got, though, was not one of the best films of the year. Instead I saw a movie that tries too hard to be a hard-hitting political drama under the guise of a comedy.
Vice is the story of Dick Cheney from his start as an intern in Washington all the way up to his time as Vice President of the United States. The movie examines all the shady tactics he uses to accumulate power to become one of the most powerful men in the world, operating mostly in the dark with few knowing what he was actually doing. It also explores his family life all the while and the effects they had on him, and the effect politics had on the family.
Christian Bale was fantastic in this movie, as one would expect him to be. He really transforms into the role of Dick Cheney. Paired with the make-up, there were multiple times where I found I couldn’t recognize him. Amy Adams is just as good, playing a role very different from anything she has done in the past. On a scene by scene judgement of this film, there were several scenes I absolutely loved. One thing in particular was how halfway through the movie they act like it is over when Cheney didn’t run for President and start to roll credits. Unfortunately, the times I was genuinely laughing from this movie were few and far apart.
In all seriousness,
this guy was the third best actor of Vice.
Vice is tone deaf in trying to get its message across. And by the end of the movie I questioned what that message was. Are we supposed to hate or respect Cheney? I can tell what Adam McKay’s vision for this movie was and I don’t know if it was him or the six producers who screwed this up, but somebody did. This is from the same people who made The Big Short and more than once I could point out a scene where they were trying to mimic the style of that 2015 comedy. However, The Big Short did this much better and had a purpose to when it did these things (like showing images and videos to establish the mindset of the time period). Vice should have walked the thin line that divides gritty drama and farcical comedy. Instead, the movie jumps willy-nilly from one side to the other. Shifting from one extreme to the other, sometimes from one scene into the next.
I know when I go to a comedy
that if there isn’t a black site torture scene
then I’ve been swindled.
For those of you hoping to get an honest biopic of Dick Cheney, you will be sadly disappointed from the first title of the movie. All of the messages that Vice is trying to get across are worn on the movie’s sleeve at the expense of understanding the man the movie is suppose to be about. The main point is that Cheney did a lot of things to consolidate power for himself, and that lead to a lot of the problems we have today. At one point, images of children in detention centers at the border were cut into the movie to show that Cheney is why we have Trump. I don’t mind having a political message in a movie, personally I loved BlacKkKlansman which had a similar anti-Trump message. But when the message begins to supersede things like the story and the characters then we have a problem.
This is not a comedy. The Big Short was a comedy. The Martian was more of a comedy. Vice is a drama that leaves you feeling sick regardless of your politics. When you get the few laughs the movie has to offer you feel even worse when it is back to images of war and abductions. When I was driving home from the theater, I had a headache from this movie. It wasn’t as bad as that time I left the theater after Beauty & the Beast and my ear was bleeding. Still, this movie is going to be memorable for me for the wrong reasons. Shame on you Golden Globes for accepting this for the Comedy category. You are lying to every poor person who buys a ticket to this movie.
You sit on a throne of lies.
I am not sure if the editor is at fault, or whoever directed him to edit the film in the way it appears on screen, but Vice needs to be completely re-edited. It takes ten minutes to get to the opening titles. It starts with a flash forward to 9/11, then goes back to young Cheney getting kicked out of college, then his time as a blue-collar worker, then it keeps going and going so that when the title card for Vice showed up, I was caught completely off guard. The titles should have been placed at the very beginning, earlier, or not at all. On top of that, more than once a scene will smash cut to a war zone with loud explosions, transitioning from a very peaceful scene just moments prior. These seem to be in here for no other reason then to check that the audience is still awake.
Pictured: 12% of the movie
With the lukewarm critical response, it appears that Vice’s Oscar chances are dead. But in a year of undeserved praise for movies at awards season, who knows? This will likely pick up several nominations including Lead Actor and Supporting Actress, but that’s not enough to make it worth watching this movie. Vice was not a very enjoyable viewing experience. I highly recommend skipping this film and seeing anything else right now.
Luckily they cut the most horrific image
from the theatrical release.
Vice (2018) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time there is an explosion out of nowhere (you’ll see what I mean).
Take a Drink: every time you forget this movie has a narrator.
Take a Drink: every time Steve Carrell says something vulgar.
Take a Drink: every time a grisly image appears and you wonder who the hell told you this movie was a comedy.
Take a Drink: every time, during the end credits, you recognize what one of the fishing lures looks like.
Finish your Drink: if you make it to the post credit scene where it becomes all about Trump.