6.5/10 “Vice” was my 2nd Most Anticipated Film of 2018, which means I could not have been more excited for this film if I had tried to. The best comedy writer/director working today, Adam McKay, killed it with his foray into dramatic territory with the third best film of 2015, “The Big Short”. After three years we finally get his follow up tackling Dick Cheney and the Bush administration. There are some amazing aspects of this film that cannot be given enough credit. First and foremost is the acting. Christian Bale as the lead transforms into Cheney so much so that you really do forget you are watching an actor’s portrayal of him. The entire cast is solid (Tyler Perry continues to prove he needs to stop trying comedy and stick to dramatic roles like this and “Gone Girl”) but this is Bale’s show and he is Oscar worthy in his performance. Adam McKay continues with some of his techniques that he established in “The Big Short” and they work really well here. Whether it is an end credits scene halfway through the movie or the lead characters ordering at a restaurant with Alfred Molina as the waiter, these moments bring some much needed comedic relief to a movie filled with some somber material. The brilliant editing, paired with these moments and the acting are by far the film’s strengths. Here is where the film becomes so disappointing, however. Adam McKay, like most Hollywood directors, is extremely liberal, which is fine. We have had many liberal Hollywood directors make films of a political nature – just take a look at the entire career of Oliver Stone, for example. Yet when most liberal directors tackle films of a political nature, they still maintain somewhat of an objective approach to the films. McKay throws that out the window, decides to take a completely subjective approach and allows his biases to rule the entire movie. He picks and chooses certain aspects of the Bush administration (an administration of which I am not fond of, by the way) that fits in with his narrative while simultaneously ignoring aspects that don’t fit in with his narrative AND ignoring the fact that the Obama administration did the exact same thing in many circumstances. He even admits in several scenes that no one knows what was said at certain historical times and so they just fill in the blanks in a way that makes everyone in the Bush administration look terrible. The worst and most insulting case of all of this is once the real credits start rolling at the end of the movie and we see a Trump supporter portrayed as someone who ignores all facts and instantly resorts to violence when he is faced with an argument he can’t win. This kind of biased, low brow, lazy writing is not only stereotypical and nothing new, but insulting and below even people like Michael Moore. “Vice” had the potential to be a great follow up to one of the best films of 2015 but instead is a huge disappointment due to the director’s subjective nature. It is a shame such amazing performances and editing were wasted on Adam McKay’s personal…vices.
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