Politipress: Review – “Vice”


In the latest installment of Politipress, WSPN’s Charlie Moore reviews Adam McKay’s “Vice,” a mockumentary-style commentary on former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Charlie Moore

For the voting members of our community, it is often hard to have a firm grasp on who our representing politicians are, and what they actually do. In this installment of Politipress, I review Adam McKay’s latest movie, “Vice,” a mockumentary-style commentary on Vice President Dick Cheney.

Former Vice-President Dick Cheney was President George W. Bush’s right-hand man, serving from 2000 to 2008. Cheney’s legacy had been infamous for its secrecy, but one thing the film clearly demonstrates is that Cheney was the most powerful, mysterious and “under-the-radar-operating” vice president in our country’s history.

Vice is a mockumentary-style film that follows two storylines as the film progresses until they converge toward the end. The first is simply Dick Cheney’s rise to power, depicting his ambition, family life, and political advancement. It shows us a ‘ne’er-do-well’ Cheney pulled to responsibility and success by wife, Lynne, as she reaffirms his potential and her unwavering need for his success.

The other storyline is that of Jesse Plemons’ character, Kurt, who serves as our narrator throughout Cheney’s story and his rise through the ranks.

“Vice” far surpassed my expectations for a comedic film – it was subtly funny, and unapologetically so. Director Adam McKay is renowned as a comedy film writer. The most humorous scene of the film is when Cheney learns about his daughter’s sexuality and unequivocally accepts her. The film, barely halfway through its 2h 12min runtime, then cuts to a fake credits sequence – the joke being that Cheney didn’t fully accept her and eventually let it drive the family apart.

The film was funny, and I was completely content with the historical accuracy and general political landscape of the film. That being said, “Vice” did have its shortcomings.

First things first, George W. Bush is depicted by Sam Rockwell as an absolute pop tart. He let Cheney walk all over him and had little to no control whatsoever over Cheney’s seemingly unchecked actions. Additionally, the film was about Cheney, but it wasn’t a happy biopic – the writers clearly dislike Cheney, as he too is depicted as the slimiest politician one could imagine.

My biggest gripe with the film as I was watching it was its bias toward the Democratic Party. Bush was clueless, Cheney was corrupt, Donald Rumsfeld was downright evil. The film obviously doesn’t try to hide this, and effectively satirizes this administration – I didn’t expect it to be politically neutral, and for that it was entertaining. All that being said, I still hadn’t yet made it to the end.

The last 20 or so minutes were unbearable. I had real respect for this film until it turned over and became disgustingly partisan. Of course, films and filmmakers attempt to put messages or morals at the end of any movie, but this film turned from a major motion picture to a propaganda film one might view on Youtube.

The film would have it that everything for which Cheney was responsible immoral, unjust and a highlight of his corruption. The lasting failure of this film was how it tied itself up with a commentary on Trump  Suddenly, everything Cheney masterminded became everything Trump, of today. It was “logical’ yet an ill-explained progression.

I totally understand that a Hollywood feature can have a liberal bias, even more to that extent when the film presents Christian Bale as an incredible Dick Cheney. Regardless, this funny, accurate film took such a hard turn; it eventually felt like it was directed by Michael Moore and not Adam McKay.

The majority of the film was really good. Christian Bale deserves all the awards he will receive for this role. If you replace the last 20 minutes with something even ‘meh,’ this review would be positive and not negative.

But at the end of the day, “Vice” harshly misrepresented itself, and it ruined itself by trying to take a position.

Rating: 4/10

Opinion articles written by staff members represent their personal views. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent WSPN as a publication.