I had a couple of failed attempts to see this in Texas. There was the day I spent waiting around to do something with Mom that never happened, when I’d had it in the back of my mind that I’d run off to see this. There was the slim chance of seeing it on Christmas day. Then there was my last day in town where I went to see it and it wasn’t available on the kiosk and I wasn’t about to stand in line to possibly only find it sold out so I saw Marwen instead. As soon as that last fiasco happened, I got on my AMC app and used A list to reserve the very first possible show the day after I got back in to LA.
Christian Bale pulls off yet another physical transformation, this time to play US VP Dick Cheney for writer/director Adam McKay. We follow Cheney’s rise thru Washington and how he ultimately gamed the system to become one of the post powerful and surreptitiously influential Vice’s in US history.
I absolutely love McKay’s quirky style (which we previously saw in The Big Short). I don’t even know how to describe it for someone who hasn’t experienced it. There’s an almost out of place comedic element, with seemingly random stock footage, and unexpected celebrity cameos, all used brilliantly to further the story and keep you on your toes. It did feel more effortless in The Big Short than here, almost like he was forcing it in because it was expected of him, but it still makes for some fascinating storytelling. I would have been completely relishing in the sinister undertone if I wasn’t completely enraged by the events going on. What can I say, I’m very much a liberal, driven by my empathy for others, and seeing people act out of their own interest in a way that has no regard for how others are affected is appalling.
While on paper, Christian Bale may have been a puzzling choice to play Cheney, this may in fact be one of his best ever performances (of which there are many to choose from). He had the physicality and mannerisms down and just commanded every frame of the screen. There were a couple scenes where I saw some hints of Patrick Bateman slip thru (which I’m fairly sure were unintentional) which just heightened my interest and my disgust all at once.
This is also one of Amy Adams’ best, and there’s a very good shot at this finally being her long overdue Oscar glory. She too takes on different visual characteristics than we’ve seen before, and brings a power to a supporting role. So much power, that at times I wondered what this story would have been if it was told from her perspective. She made it perfectly clear that her husband would never have gotten as far as he did without her handywork involved.
In another signature McKay move, there were so many great actors popping up throughout. Sam Rockwell, Steve Carrell, Allison Pill, Tyler Perry. Sometimes I think half the fun of his films is waiting to see who’ll pop up next.
Oh and I know I called the hair and makeup Oscar race for Mary Queen of Scots, but now I’m not so sure. Mary wins on hair def, but Vice has a strong makeup game. Again, the gorgeous Christian Bale ends up looking exactly like the dumpy Dick Cheney. Amy Adams is aged beautifully as Lynne. Hell, even Sam Rockwell ended up looking strikingly like George W Bush, a statement I never would have expected.
Vice – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n