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Rated 3.1 stars
by 292 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Excessive Power
by Betty Jo Tucker

Although receiving a 2018 Golden Globe nomination in the “Best Comedy or Musical Film” category, Vice didn’t make me laugh once. It’s a very serious depiction of the political power wielded by Dick Cheney (Christian Bale), especially when he served as the 46th Vice President of the United States -- and there’s nothing funny about that. But it does explain how Cheney disproved the belief about the VP position being a no-power job. Plus, the movie shows how far a husband can go with the help and support of a strong woman -- in this case it’s no-nonsense wife Lynne Cheney (played by Amy Adams). The film also shows Cheney as a family man who loves and supports his wife and children.

Before he became George W. Bush’s VP, Cheney held several governmental positions including Congressional intern, White House Chief of Staff, member of the House of Representatives (from Wyoming), House Minority Whip, and Secretary of Defense (for George H.W. Bush). Because of his extensive experience, George W. picked Cheney as his running mate – giving him almost cart blanche to oversee such important areas as the September 11 attacks and the War on Terrorism.

Vice emphasizes Cheney’s philosophy concerning the absolute power of the President. “If the President does it, it’s not illegal.” This might explain why to this day Cheney rates low on popularity. One short scene illustrates the extent of Cheney’s personal power. After he accidentally shoots a fellow hunter in the face, the guy he shoots goes on TV and apologizes to him!              

Power driven behind the scenes.

Dick Cheney learned how much that means.

Unitary executive –

a goal he chose his all to give.


Vice shows how this power became

Cheney’s own political game.

Lovely Lynne seen egging him on.

A true believer – not a con.


Playing Cheney? It’s Christian Bale

under make-up to help the sale.

George W. Bush? Sam Rockwell,

who looks and sounds like George so well.


Too soon to see a film like this?

Probably, but it’s not to miss.

Using Cheney-like voice inflection and facial expressions, Bale succeeds in projecting a Dick Cheney aura. And he changed his own body weight to match Cheney’s likeness. But I couldn’t forget he was acting. That really surprised me because I usually buy the character Bale plays, hook line and sinker. He’s such a terrific actor! On the other hand, Rockwell convinced me he was George W. Bush. He seems so natural in the interaction scenes between the two men. Also, Adams’ make-up as her character grows older looks too obvious and detracts from her fine performance.

Is Vice, directed and written by Adam McKay, factual? Historically, yes. But for everything else, maybe not. At least the filmmaker warns us with a statement at the beginning of the movie. Evidently, because Dick Cheney is such a secretive political figure, it’s hard to get all the facts straight.             

(Released by Annapurna Pictures and rated “R” by the MPAA.)

For more information about Vice, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.

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