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Adam McKay’s “Vice” takes a glimpse into the mysterious and equally terrifying life of former vice president, Dick Cheney.

(Trailer courtesy of Annapurna Pictures Youtube channel.)

My first memory of Dick Cheney was seeing his name on a presidential placemat I had as a child. For most of my young years, I thought Darrell Hammond was Cheney because of how frequently he appeared on Saturday Night Live. Besides seeing his name in textbooks and seeing his face on TV, I did not know much about our former vice president.

The popularity of the subject can be a bit of a problem when it comes to a biopic, but despite not having an expansive knowledge about Cheney, the film was very easy to get into. Most biopics begin with the words on screen: “based on a true story”. “Vice”, however, was “based on a true story” or as true as they could make it. In the words of McKay, “we tried our f*cking best”.

Christian Bale takes on a complete transformation as Cheney — even down to the tremor in his lip. To play a man so incredibly powerful and intimidating is no simple task, but Bale is completely effortless. He makes a character that is so powerful and unattainable, relatable. Cheney might have been a political powerhouse, but Bale humanizes him with his love for his family. A love so strong, it actually leads him to turn on his family, which was one of the most heartbreaking parts of the film.

Despite being almost two and a half hours long, the editing and quick whips kept a considerably heavy topic light-hearted and even funny. The ending credits scene was incredible — the theatre erupted into laughter like I’ve never heard in a movie before. The film was able to move so easily because of the great narration by Kurt, played by Jesse Plemmons, whose small, yet pivotal role was the reason I left the theatre crying.

“Vice” has already won the Golden Globe for Best Actor — Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Actor in a Comedy, Best Actor and Best Makeup.

“Vice” is nominated for eight Academy Awards including:

  • Best Picture, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adam McKay and Kevin Messick
  • Best Actor, Christian Bale
  • Best Supporting Actor, Sam Rockwell
  • Best Supporting Actress, Amy Adams
  • Best Director, Adam McKay
  • Best Original Screenplay, Adam McKay
  • Best Film Editing, Hank Corwin
  • Best Makeup, Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia Dehaney

Verdict: 7/10

The film was great. The only reason I didn’t give it a higher score was because of some of the casting. Steve Carrell as Donald Rumsfeld and Tyler Perry as Colin Powell were interesting choices. Nothing against their performances, which were both great, but watching Michael Scott and Madea as two of the biggest names in politics was a bit distracting. Bale and Adams completely transform into Dick and Lynne Cheney in a way that didn’t seem contrived; it truly felt like we were getting a glimpse into their lives. It’s obvious to me now why Bale’s and Adams’ performances were nominated for so many awards this season. It’s a tight race this year; I hope to see the cast and crew of this film walk away with an Oscar this year.