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Vice

Director:  Adam McKay
Year Released:  2018
Rating:  2.0

Yale dropout Richard Cheney (Christian Bale), with the support of his Lady Macbeth-esque wife Lynne (Amy Adams) and two daughters, wiggles his way around political circles, working as Congressman (for Wyoming), Secretary of Defense (under Daddy Bush), the CEO of Halliburton (gotta get that Middle East Oil!) and as Vice President under Dubya, where he 'redefined' the role, helping to start all sorts of nastiness: the War on Terror, "enhanced interrogation techniques" (torture), exposing Valerie Plame, shooting his friend in the face and getting away with it, etc. The cast is astounding, from Bale's eerie imitation to Sam Rockwell's clueless G.W. to scene-stealer Steve Carell as Rummie, but there's something off about it tonally-speaking: McKay seems to want to push it to be a comedy, but it's bubbling with too much anger and contempt (and Bale's too serious) for it to warrant more than a few light chuckles - Bale, in his getup, thinks he's in an Oliver Stone movie. There is a fantastic running "gag" (of sorts) involving the Jesse Plemons character ... although even that's the blackest of black humor at play. It could be a case of "way too soon" - we need a few more decades to process exactly what evil transpired ... and what is conjecture.

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© Copyright 2019 Matthew Lotti.