The new movie “Vice” Directed by Adam McKay rings very similar to his other film “The Big Short” with its use of extremely unusual and never seen before movie ideas. For instance this movie starts rolling the end of movie credits in the middle of the film, in an attempt to be funny because the audience knows the movie is not over and what was going to happen next. Numerous flashbacks throughout the life and career of Dick Chaney, played extremely well by Christian Bale, try to enhance the viewing experience by surprising and tricking the audience. I thought a very simple point in the movie where Cheney was standing at the entrance of what was going to be his office as the Vice President flashing back to where it all began was extremely well done. In my opinion just about all of these new ideas worked in this movie like they did in The Big Short that was released in 2015, which was a great movie about the 2008 Financial Crisis.
As the story of Vice unfolds it uncovers what everybody knows who has followed politics and Cheney’s career have always suspected. Cheney was really the president during the Bush administration from 2001-2009 and George Bush was mostly a figurehead and even as this story makes clear, a buffoon. The problem is, the United States did not elect Dick Cheney to be President, we elected George W. Bush.
There are many references to the 911 attacks on September 11, 2001, even at the very start of this movie. There are several scenes that suggest that Cheney was in charge of the country during the 911 crisis and making all the critical decisions including the orders to shoot down any plane that might seem to be threatening the United States. The scenes involving decisions about the Iraq war point out what many also thought about this unjust conflict – the Bush administration thought that the people of the United States wanted revenge after 911 and Iraq was the country we used to get even. To achieve the end result of an invasion of Iraq in March 2003, they conducted interviews with American citizens and collected data from polls. This culminated with a speech that Colon Powell, played by Tyler Perry, gave to the United Nations citing “weapons of mass destruction”. Powell later called this speech that essentially green-lighted the Iraq war, the most difficult thing he has ever had to do. There are many suggestions that Dick Cheney profited very well when Halliburton, the company that he was formerly the CEO, gained tremendously from the Iraq war including the stock rising 500% during this period.
If there is any flaw in this movie it was about not showing the missing years where Cheney rose from being a hopeless drunk who was thrown out of Yale, to the White House where he eventually held many important jobs, then Vice President and in between became the CEO of Halliburton. I think this was a very important part of Cheney’s life story and it should not have been left out. This movie also shows several scenes where George W. Bush was himself a hopeless drunk even embarrassing himself at a party where Cheney and his wife Lynne Cheney, played very well by Amy Adams, attended. There are many scenes about Cheney’s frequent heart problems even putting him in a hospital about to die because they could at the time, not find a heart donor. In my opinion, there should be Academy Award nominations for this movie, Amy Adams, Christian Bale and Steve Carell who played Donald Rumsfeld.
I was surprised at the relatively low ratings for Vice on Rotten Tomatoes at only 66% because I thought this movie should be given a solid 90% and as a result I give a solid recommendation to Vice. I am sure that both Dick Cheney and George W. Bush will not have this high of an opinion as it paints a pretty bleak picture about both of them.