Vice: Beware the quiet man... | Review

by - Wednesday, January 16, 2019


Adam McKay is making bold choices that not a lot of filmmakers can get away with. Vice showcases another Christian Bale transformation but not without the substance. He settles into the role of VP Dick Cheney with unnerving ease.

Vice plays like a documentary with quick inserts of archive footage, also like a western with the dramatic opening titles but still manages to play like a horror with its gruesome imagery and all of this is why you just can't look away, you're too scared to miss Cheney's next move.

There's a brilliant quote just after the opening sequence:

"Beware the quiet man, for while others speak, he watches and while others act, he plans and when they finally rest... he strikes"
- anonymous.

This doesn't play into Cheney's persona in relation to the figure we know now, the mastermind behind the war, the manipulator, the crook but it does have a valid place in this film. It's an unnerving warning for our present as well as our future, these demonic-like presences lurking in our media and our politics, watching and waiting to strike at the most vulnerable times. It's how we end up with these dystopian circumstances and this is the fuel that fires the narrative of Vice, ending with a pissed off Dick Cheney blaming the audience:

"You chose me and I did what you asked"

It's incredibly chilling. The whole thing is a nightmare from start to finish with the mad cuts into Shakespearean dialect and the mid film credit roll. I invite the madness in a way that doesn't sit well in other films. Do I think every choice helped Vice get to its point of crescendo? No. But I invite it to try because it feels like living in this world, it feels like what the storytellers set out to do.

It's a brilliant piece of entertainment and informative to an extent but if you take nothing else from the film there were some brilliant performances from Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Steve Carrell and even Sam Rockwell, though his character did feel more like a parody than a real person. One thing that didn't sit right with me in Vice was the underlying theme that maybe Lynne Cheney, Dick's wife, was the real mastermind behind all the madness and it's unfair to pass all the blame to her. She may have her wrongs but so does he and everyone must be held accountable.

There's no resting up in this film, even with the quiet moments that attempt to humanise him. Every opportunity you may find yourself slipping in to rooting for him you get some imagery or a line that reminds you really where we are. This is dystopia but this is also our reality. Every day waking up on this planet is unnerving and every day someone who let things get out of control is making choices for us all.



Vice is coming to UK cinemas 25th January 2019. 

Until next time

You May Also Like

0 comments