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Vice (2018)

Written and directed by Adam McKay

Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell

A satirical portrayal of the rise of Dick Cheney (Bale), from his wild youth through his time as Vice President of the United States.

This movie might best be described as a fictional film with biographical elements. Much of the material is made up of assumptions and speculation. Adam McKay (The Big Short) wrote and directed the movie. The cast features a nice selection of very talented people. Christian Bale (Hostiles) takes on the central role, and is joined by Amy Adams (Arrival), Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), and Sam Rockwell (3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri).

This film had the potential to be one of the better political satires in recent memory. Dick Cheney is one of the more divisive people in modern American politics. Adam McKay unfortunately missed the mark almost entirely. The characters lack any real sense of depth or authenticity. It would have been better to commit to outright caricatures than the strange versions presented in this one. The body of this film is comprised of a collection of events that feel disjointed and disconnected. The dialogue has some nice moments, but often feels like it was written for a bad James Bond villain. There are a handful of weak laughs, but most of this just falls flat.

One of the major issues with this movie are the frequent attempts to be unique. There are a number of gimmicks used, seemingly to be funny, that just don’t work. These moments are too long, and too frequent. From beginning to end, this story fails far more often than it succeeds.

The talented core of this cast never stood a chance with the script they were given. The best performances of the film can be seen in the trailer. Christian Bale might have been physically transformed, but his performance is unconvincing. There’s a lack of commitment that is evident throughout the movie. Amy Adams also gives a mostly unimpressive performance throughout this one. Carell and Rockwell also leave little to be talked about. There’s a missing energy that might have helped this one. Like the script, the acting has some minor moments of success, but mostly fails. It would be fair to say that the actors were not given much to work with.

The production value of this one is almost unimportant given the failings of the rest of the movie. The makeup work does a nice job transforming some of the stars. The costuming and set design also seem to hit the mark throughout this one. Otherwise, there isn’t a lot to praise.

The premise for this film had potential. Unfortunately, the scattershot work by McKay leaves a messy and disappointing movie experience. In addition to his bad script, he also attempted to capitalize on recent tragedies that have no relationship to the characters in the film. It’s weak-minded thinking that undercuts any message the film might have been trying to relay to the audience. I would not recommend this one to anyone. There are far better options for audiences. I give this one 0.5 out of 5 stars.

Rating: R

Running Time: 132 Minutes

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