Vice (12A)

If you liked Adam McKay’s The Big Short then you are going to love Vice.

Vice tells the tale of how one of the most underestimated men in Goverment became the most powerful Vice President in American history.

We watch as Dickey Cheney (played by Christian Bale) slowly but surely works his way up the political ladder learning the tricks of the trade from Donald Rumsfeld (played by Steve Carell).

As with all masters and creators eventually Cheney questions his mentor and when push comes to shove, boy does he shove.

Governor George W Bush of Texas (played by Sam Rockwell) picks Cheney, who at this point is the CEO of Halliburton Co, to be his Republican running mate in the 2000 presidential election.

When Bush asks Cheney to be his Vice President it isn’t met with the greatest enthusiasm. Cheney, a businessman with greater aspirations, isn’t interested in the symbolic gig. “However,” he begins, “if we came to a different understanding, I can handle the more mundane jobs.” He wants to handle a few things here and there, like bureaucracy, the military, energy, and foreign policy. Small things really!

Cheney puts his stints as White House chief of staff, House Minority Whip and defence secretary to good use. Cheney plays on Bush’s weakness and inabilty to lead to his advantage and soon enough has control of the country.

We watched as Bale thickens and greys before our eyes, and as the years pass his Cheney gets more ruthless, ever the shrewd operator.

Cheney is often painted as a devoted family man with a ruthless drive for power. What McKay show us is that this is a mere 10% of what makes the politician the man he is. The trouble is that once you’ve looked behind the curtain, there’s no looking back.

McKay does his best to answer the question “How did he do it?” and the answer is, with ease. Okay, but how did he get away with it? Simply put Cheney was smart and the rest of us were too distracted to stop him.

Vice is the best movie of the year so far for me so it’s no surprise that it won a Golden Globe for Bale’s performance.

Bale’s transformation is incredible, as is his performance. Rockwell is superb in his role as affable Bush.

McKay has yet again surpassed his previous work. He has the outstanding ability to explain a complex and volatile narrative with great ease and humour.

Vice is out on 25th January 2018. This review was written as part of an exclusive preview with Odeon.

By Ruth Walker

★★★★★

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