Director: Adam McKay
Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell
Release Date: April 2, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8.5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
Nominated for 8 ACADEMY AWARDS®*, including Best Picture, VICE stars Christian Bale in his Oscar-nominated role as Dick Cheney in this epic tale of how a bureaucratic Washington insider quietly became the most powerful man in the world. Co-starring Amy Adams, Steve Carell, and Sam Rockwell, VICE is a darkly comic look behind the scenes of American politics.
Inspired by the life of politician and previous Vice-President of the Unite States Dick Cheney (Bale), ‘Vice’ explores the man’s life, relationship with his wife (Adams) and family, and his carefully conducted rise to power within the world of politics, through his service as Vice President to George W. Bush (Rockwell) who he managed to convince of the VP’s necessity for more power and information than that which usually tends to accompany the position; quickly leading him to become one of the most powerful men in the world. Get ready to dive into the life and world of Dick Cheney in a way that you never expected with Adam McKay’s multi Academy Award nominated film.
Written and directed by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy) who does a fantastic job at the helm of ‘Vice’ guiding his own splendidly odd script along and perfectly capturing this real-life inspired tale with a fitting mixture of humor and style. The film also benefits a great deal from the talented cast which includes Christian Bale (The Big Short), Amy Adams (Arrival), Steve Carell (Battle of the Sexes), Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Tyler Perry (Gone Girl), Alison Pill (Miss Sloane), Jesse Plemons (Game Night), Lily Rabe (TV’s American Horror Story) and more, nearly all providing highly capable performances in each of their respective roles, even if Bale consistently steals the show with his brilliant performance and nearly unrecognizable transformation into Cheney.
‘Vice’ is a hilarious, hyper-paced and frequently parodic look at the life of Dick Cheney chronicling various high points in his life and career, eventually allowing him to become one of the most powerful men in the world during his time serving as Vice President of the United States. Never hesitating to dive into the nastier elements of the tale and benefitting a great deal from its unique and somewhat silly approach which oddly enough seems to work perfectly with the material and the context in which it’s delivered to the audience; all forming together into a delightful oddball of a film that’s as intriguing as it is entertaining. It’s stylishly directed by Adam McKay with a swift, hilarious pace and his capable work behind the camera is tremendously complimented by a truly outstanding performance from the talented Christian Bale and a noteworthy supporting cast backing him up. I would strongly encourage fans of McKay and/or Bale to try and make a point of checking out ‘Vice’ whenever possible, even if you might not be overly interested in the content itself. The unique and amusing approach, along with the powerful performances and over the top tone really make this tale largely based on a real individual end up being something quite unlike the majority of similar films and it stands a solid chance of pleasantly surprising you if you can simply get yourself to jump into it.
Overall, ‘Vice’ is a clever and quite hilarious look at the life and career of Dick Cheney that greatly benefits from the humorous and over the top approach, allowing it to become something drastically different than you might expect. Never pulling its punches or hesitating to have some fun with the real life inspired material and all captured with a unique and at times almost goofy approach that only filmmaker Adam McKay could make work so seamlessly. ‘Vice’ is highly recommended, especially for fans of political tales done with a humorous and parodic edge, as well as for fans of McKay and Bale who are both at their finest. It’s a unique, hilarious and edgy look at a (somewhat) true story that should if nothing else prove well worth a couple hours of your time and the price of a rental one casual evening.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Vice’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and delivers a sharp, detailed and smooth presentation from start to finish, with no noticeable faults to be uncovered throughout. It holds up perfectly even during the darkly lit and heavily populated moments, never allowing anything onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible at any point. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation that should easily satisfy first time viewers and fans of the movie alike.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack nicely compliments the onscreen fun and provides a clean, crisp and at times somewhat aggressive audio presentation throughout. It often takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send some nature elements, bits of dialogue and more throughout the various speakers whenever appropriate, along with some harder hitting audio effects at times including gunshots and more, all while making certain that any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously remain clean and fully audible at all times. Overall, this is a more than capable 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that sounds consistently great throughout and delivers in every way necessary.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Vice’ includes a few noteworthy extras that fans of the film should appreciate. Included on the release are some ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film including its Musical Sequence (running approximately 17 minutes in length altogether), in addition to ‘Gaming the System: The Making of Vice’ (running approximately 36 minutes) which explores the process of bringing the film to life and includes interviews/comments with members of the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. We’re also treated to the Featurette ‘The Music of Power’ (approximately 5 minutes), a still image ‘Gallery’ and the film’s ‘Theatrical Trailer’ (2 minutes).