Vice (2018) Poster

(I) (2018)

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Dark politics
TheLittleSongbird12 December 2019
Saw 'Vice' for quite a few reasons. The subject was fascinating as is Dick Cheney himself. That it was positively reviewed, well mostly, and got the awards attention it did (yes, have always taken the big awards more seriously than others because while there have been questionable wins and even nominations in every category every year there are just as many that are richly deserved), showed a lot of promise.

Also really liked 2015's 'The Big Short', another positively reviewed Adam McKay film, and what was especially good in that film also came over to me as particularly good here in 'Vice'. My main reason though, and this seems to be true of a lot of films seen recently (both those released this year and first time viewings for all years), was the cast. Hard to go wrong with Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Sam Rockwell and Steve Carrell (who is good and more with good material).

While full potential is not fully achieved and it is a bit uneven and messy, a larger part of me really enjoyed 'Vice', which did impress me with its ambition and invention. It is a film that will hugely entertain a good number while challenging others, and will be and is even a polarising experience more than understandably. As said it is a long way from perfect and between this and 'The Big Short' the latter is the better film. Am going to agree with those that criticised the editing, which does go too over the top on the intended quirkiness and like it was trying too hard to be inventive and it comes over as choppy instead.

The story execution, while mostly compelling, does suffer zig zagging to and fro too much, which gave it an unfocused feel that didn't always make the film feel cohesive. So it did come over as a bit rushed and muddled at times, and it definitely could have benefitted from trying to do less and not go over the top on the details. Was a little mixed on the narration, it has a lot of clever moments (and was not expecting the twist regarding it) but there were times where it wasn't necessary and intruded a bit.

'Vice' however has a lot that is good. Although there were reservations with the editing, there was some quite audacious photography that succeeds better at being inventive and the production/locations and costuming show great care in making the time and place clear. The best thing though visually was the makeup for Cheney, which was a masterstroke and rendered Bale unrecognisable. The film is tightly directed by McKay and the music is a beautiful mix of melancholic and uplifting. While the story is not flawless by any stretch, it is still very compelling even when more deliberate than 'The Big Short' and told with great gusto. It is a tough and very relevant subject, handled in a way that hits hard. Two things are especially good in 'Vice' though.

One is the script, which is often darkly hilarious, unsettling in its frank truth, very informative even though the amount told to us is vast and bleakly tragic. The other is the cast, with all the actors on point and make their characters well rounded (the negative portrayal of Cheney though is polarising, his family objected to it, and some may find it on the biased side, but to me he avoids caricature). Bale is magnificent, one of his best performances this decade and it shocked me seeing him this cold and menacing. Adams is just as powerful a presence and their chemistry is eerily twisted. Rockwell is always great and Carrell is fun to watch while never resorting to silliness. Tyler Perry shows too that his performance in 'Gone Girl', a brilliant film and he was surprisingly good in it, wasn't a fluke in an another relatively against type role.

In a nutshell, good but not great. 7/10
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Dick Cheney was a friend of mine
bkoganbing9 April 2019
With the making of Vice Richard Cheney of Wyoming reached a status that no one else has in American history. Who else who only made it to the office of Vice President managed to have a movie made about them. The only other one was Aaron Burr.

There's not much about Dick Cheney that I had not already known. The story of a hell raising kid from Wyoming who rose to be among the movers and shakers of our country might be considered an American success story. If he had only used his talents for the creation of a little good in the world I might be more favorably disposed.

As a Vice President Cheney is also unique in truly becoming an assistant President and actually making policy. In our history the only other one like that who comes to mind is Martin Van Buren who Andrew Jackson's Vice President in Jackson's second term.

The real surprise in this was Amy Adams who played Lynne Chaney. I never knew that much about her and she has a really great scene where kickstarts her drunken boyfriend Cheney basically saying shape up and make something of yourself in this world that men run. Fascinating the response here. Lynne Chaney says work the system, someone like Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the same situation makes up her mind to change things. Amy Adams got a Best Supporting Actor nomination as did Sam Rockwell for Best Supporting Actor.

Still Vice is driven by the Best Actor nominee Christian Bale and his portrayal of Richard Cheney. It's a many sided portrayal and Cheney does not come out all bad. For instance he's shown as being supportive of his lesbian daughter Mary Cheney. Qualify that by saying he also realizes among the crowd he seeks to court for votes having an out lesbian daughter isn't going make him friends. Lynne Chaney realizes that even more.

Bale got an Oscar nomination for Best Actor and the film was up for Best Picture and several other awards. It only won in the Makeup category.

Most interesting role was that of Jesse Plemons, an every man sort of character who narrates the film and has a unique relationship with Richard Cheney. You find out if you watch the movie.

An interesting look at some of our recent American past through the eyes of a consummate insider.
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unnecessary bend
SnoopyStyle29 March 2019
This is a biopic of former American Vice President Dick Cheney (Christian Bale). Starting in 1963, he's a drunken punk. He gets kick out of Yale and his girlfriend Lynne (Amy Adams) gives him an ultimatum. He sets off for Washington and interns for congressman Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell). He gets elevated into the Nixon administration and with Ford. He wins the House seat for Wyoming. When his youngest daughter Mary comes out of the closet, his political career seems to be over. Then George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) comes calling for him to be his VP pick.

Writer/director Adam McKay is a Hollywood liberal and this movie has a deliberate liberal bend. If one dissects this movie from its style, there actually isn't anything too controversial other than Lynne's mother's death. Like the opening text says, this is the truth or as close to the truth considering how private the Cheneys are. It's the McKay style that is unnecessary. It pushes the material unnecessarily. The basic material is already politically slanted. The flash edits is akin to McKay yelling at the audience. It doesn't add comedy. It doesn't add spice to the story. It's just annoying. Dick is also not the most physically dynamic of characters although Christian Bale really disappears into the role. I am surprised that more isn't made of his Halliburton days. The one thing I did learn about is the Unitary executive theory. I knew about the concept and the execution. I just didn't know that it has a name.

Finally, there is Jesse Plemons playing the mysterious Kurt as the narrator. The reveal is underwhelming. The big shocking emotional turn is how the Cheneys dealt with Mary. It is the most human of family drama in this political life. On the one hand, I'm giving McKay credit for not playing up Mary's turmoil since he has no inside information on that part of the story. On the other hand, Cheney's heart seems like trying too hard and failing at something poetic, and Mary's turmoil would be a more compelling button to his story. Overall, this McKay movie would work much better without the McKay style.
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In the Middle Somewhere
Hitchcoc18 April 2019
When I look at a movie, I look for balance. To start with, I had to put aside my animus toward the Bush administration and Cheney as the Iago to Bush's Othello. Christian Bale fashions an infectious bully in Cheney whose heart is his Achilles heel. He is presented as a man whose ambition is fueled by Lady Macbeth (oops, his wife). He is presented as a bumpkin early on and then makes the crossover to the thing he becomes without a lot of thought for the bodies left lying around. Of course, like many who have never faced warfare first hand, he is proud of sending American forces to fight for the aggrandizement of his supposed boss (and die facing an enemy that did not have weapons of mass destruction). I did like Carrel's portrayal of Rumsfeld. The cutting with stock footage of war and politics has been done so many times already and the dead guy narrating seemed really odd. It's an OK movie, but without Bale it is quite pedestrian.
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The epitome of a modern movie that sacrifices all political accuracy for cheap thrills and propaganda
Horst_In_Translation8 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This is "Vice", a fairly short title for a really long movie as this one makes it comfortably beyond the 2-hour-mark. The writer and director is Adam McKay from SNL and after I already disliked his take on the banking crisis from a few years ago that was vastly overrated in my opinion, I can say I did not only dislike this film here, but truly hated it. This has to do with Christian Bale too, but it's not just him. His Oscar nominations for these two films (and Golden Globe win here) feel very false, but yeah I am not surprised liberal Hollywood appreciates this kind of material. Now lets focus on this one here. I witnessed the Bush presidency first hand as I was already old enough to understand politics when he was elected (yep elected!) President back in 2000. That's why I thought this film could get more interesting than The Big Short. Boy was I wrong. You can clearly see the ambition here, but the talent is absolutely not there. This starts with all the scenes involving Breaking Bad's Jesse Plemons. Who'd have guessed he manages such a solid big screen career. Anyway, here he is pointless filler. His involvement is a bad joke and how he acts like a character overseeing Cheney's life and the attempt to make him at least a bit significant eventually through killing him off to be a donor for Cheney went all kinds of wrong too. Besides and that he cannot be blamed for, what he adds exactly in terms of his dialogues rings very false too. Most of it, especially early on, are stupid exaggerations and obscene insults even on one point. Next problem is Sam Rockwell. I really like him as an actor and I cannot say he deserved his Oscar nomination one bit this time. But it happens not too seldom that an actor gets nominated right afterwards again after his win. Jeff Bridges is another examle and there's more from recent years. As for Rockwell, it s all about the make-up. I cannot deny he really looked the part and the makeup Oscar is not undeserving by any means. But he had neither the material nor the character to make a huge difference here. But again liberal Hollywood loves filmmakers making fun of W I am not surprised. As for Bale, he was probably as good as he could have been with what he was given. Again, a whole lot here is makeup again too for sure. The Oscar nomination is okay, the Globe win is way too much.

But I especially want to say a few words about the film itself. It looked really clumsy and with that I am talking about the jumps in time as well as several moments that may seem creative to the untrained eye, but actually are not. One would be the fake credits rolling in early. The next would be the conflict between a Republican and a Democrat at the very end from this study group. They say on one occasion that everything you see and hear in this picture is based on facts. Okay, lets go. Is it a fact that Cheney's new heart comes from a soldier who died in a car accident? Is it a fact that Lynne Cheney did not say on the phone she loves him back which clearly bothered him. Is it a fact that Dick reacted caringly for his daughter when she confessed to him she was a lesbian while Lynne acted cold and distant? I could go on like that. For a long time. The reality is nothing apart from the very very basic plot points here is depicted the way it happened. It is a very fictionalized movie. Did Cheney become more ruthless the older he got? Was it really him who threw his mentor Rumsfeldt and his daughter under the bus? Debatable. Here it is presented to be 100% the case and that is of course not true. Completely away from the main character, I think the film also looked very clumsy from the editing and story-telling perspective. Those jumps in time hurt more than they helped and felt very incongruent. And what was it with all these little very brief sequences in-between that felt like taken from a bad episode of Family Guy (in live action) and mediocre children's education television. You will recognize them when you see them, there are really a lot. It may be McKay's style, but it really isn't anything to be proud of. One example would be the beating heart sequences towards the end, but also during another Cheney heart attack early on, which were handled in a way where they clearly make fun of a man suffering from a heart attack. So this film is not just extremely incorrect and far away from reality and how things actually happened, it is also extremely disrespectful in an already childish manner. There is almost nothing positive I can say here, perhaps that it elaborated in a way on said lesbian daughter early on that would not make Cheney look like a monster. In addition, there were large parts of the film when it seemed as if McKay could not decide really if he wanted to make a documentary or a live action movie. Maybe he needed the former aspect to make it look slightly realistic at least. But obviously badly-written and spoken (German dub I watched) narration plus a most random witch hunt against Fox News (lets not mention the liberal-biased left-wing CNN shall we) cannot make up for the endless amount of flaws included in this movie. Huge thumbs-down and the Oscars should be ashamed for giving this one such a great deal of attention. Highly not recommended. Perhaps the worst Oscar nominee 2019. Watch something else instead.
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The Wolf of the White House
Prismark108 January 2019
In The Big Short, Writer-Director Adam McKay tackled the financial crisis, it was one of the best films of that year.

In Britain the Conservative Party saw the financial crisis as an opportunity to bring in reforms under the banner of austerity when they came into government.

This did not mean putting extra measures into place to prevent another financial crash or pursue the wrongdoers. It did mean slash public spending. So now more people than ever are homeless, slash welfare benefits, go for years without pay rises. The fat cats have done alright though.

McKay's satirical expose of Dick Cheney in Vice has the same attitude. When 9/11 happened, Cheney (Christian Bale) saw this as an opportunity to take power for himself and take rights away from Americans and others.

It was done all in the name of National Security.

The initial scenes of Cheney is a young, drunk, fat nobody. With the support of his wife Lynne (Amy Adams) Cheney lands in Washington and becomes a rising insider courtesy of smarmy, oily Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell.)

When Cheney agreed to run for Vice President with George W Bush (Sam Rockwell) he had an eye on a power grab. When he became Vice President he made sure all the important people in the White House were under his control.

Cheney used the concept of Executive Authority to widen the powers of the President and Vice President and override the checks and balances.

Vice despite a remarkable performance from Bale does not wholly succeed. It's approach is not as fresh as The Big Short. The free wheeling attitude of The Big Short does not cut it here. I am not sure McKay managed to get a handle on his subject. He is just too darn elusive.

Cheney is a monosyllabic bore. A cruel vindictive bully. Maybe he is not interesting enough for a biopic. Vice is just a little too messy and unfocused to be a cynical satire.
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Beware the quiet man
nogodnomasters14 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This is a biopic of Dick Cheney (Christian Bale). Like an Oliver Stone film, it takes liberties with the events, creating scenes to explain certain aspects. Unlike a Stone film, you know where it is fictional, such as the restaurant scene. The film opens with Cheney's past as a subplot. We can credit him, at least partially, for creating extreme right-wing media through the elimination of the fairness doctrine. He also pushed the "Unitary Executive Theory" which states the POTUS is above the law and can not commit a crime, something that is in the news with the current administration.

Amy Adams made Lynn Cheney likable. Sam Rockwell made George W. Bush look like a clown. James Franco would have been better if that is what they wanted to do. Tyler Perry as Colin Powell. He has played Madea too much for me not to imagine Madea giving his UN speech, "Honey, you don't want to mess with US."

There is some narration by a man named Kurt (Jesse Plemons). I don't know if his life was real or a fictional prop.

Interesting to say the least to see the use of focus groups for word choice.

Guide: F-word. No sex or nudity.
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Vice as in ...
kosmasp17 May 2019
... President or a character trait? There is a reason they chose that title. Well that's me assuming of course, but you can see it too. What I didn't see, at least until I watched the movie, was Dick Cheney. This shines a very interesting light on a figure who had way more influence than many people knew at the time and maybe still are not aware of.

And take Bale now - you might already be aware that he takes his acting seriously. Now with added makeup this goes even further. No wonder this won an Oscar (I don't think anyone bet against that) in that department. Sam Rockwell almost gets drowned/forgotten about in all this. And his George H.W. Bush Jr. is as good as Bale Cheney is. So while we can and probably will be stunned by the performances and how close they are to the real thing, the movie itself is gripping too. So it's not just a gimmick...this really is good
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It's a long film, but it's a good one.
Sleepin_Dragon24 January 2021
I have to be totally honest, I don't know a hell of a lot about Cheney, so I wanted to be educated, and entertained. Americans had Bush and Cheney, we in The UK had Blair, what a time.. My skin crawled when I saw Blair, I imagine many feel the same the other side of the pond.

A very good film, interesting to see it from the point of view of Cheney, as opposed to Bush, his rise to power and prominence, and all that he did.

I did find the film a little overlong, and drawn out in parts, but it's a complex story, one that needed time to develop. The September 11 sequences are harrowing, and bring back to life those abhorrent events on that horrific day.

The highlight, Welshman Christian Bale, who once again proves beyond doubt, that he is one of the best, he's an awesome actor. Adams is great as Lynne, and seems to be the driving force.

If The U.S does it, it can't be torture, I'm not sure as to the accuracy of events here, pretty shocking. This doesn't put Cheney in a particularly good light at all I would suggest.

I found some of the cutaways a little jarring at times, I'm not too sure if they actually helped the flow of the film, or got in the way.

What about the intelligence .... What indeed.

Very interesting, 7/10. I feel like I've learnt something.
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"Beware the quiet man..., when (others) finally rest... he strikes."
classicsoncall2 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I cannot wrap my head around the performance Christian Bale gave here as former Vice-President Dick Cheney. He was magnificent in appearance, tone and mannerism. Equally up to the task was Amy Adams as Cheney's ever faithful and devoted wife, dedicated to his personal and professional success. With that though, one would be cautious to accept everything presented in the movie as factually accurate, as much of the dialog that occurs between characters and the situations they engage in cannot be dependably verified. It is an entertaining movie however, and one I enjoyed well enough if you can hold your ideological convictions in check. Cheney could have been presented entirely as a villain, so it was noteworthy to see those instances of love and compassion he displayed as a family man, particularly when daughter Mary (Alison Pill) came out as a lesbian. The supporting players were well cast as well; Steve Carrell as Donald Rumsfeld was almost as spot-on as Bale was, and LisaGay Hamilton bore an amazing likeness to Condoleeza Rice. I didn't get the impression overall that the movie was made as satire or as comedy, but I do have to say that Sam Rockwell's take on George W. Bush bore all the earmarks of a Saturday Night Live skit. So as for those scenes with him in it went, it didn't take much to realize that the film's intent was as agenda driven as they come. But no matter, for a political movie I was willing enough to take the politics out of it as much as I could to appreciate the performances, and in a nutshell, they were all pretty good.
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just say no to Bush nostalgia
lee_eisenberg18 August 2019
Under Obama, millions were glad to have Bush out of office. Since Trump came to power, millions of these same people feel almost nostalgic for Bush. Adam McKay's Academy Award-winning "Vice" shows why we shouldn't. It focuses not on Bush, but on Cheney, showing how he went from loser to vice president, essentially reshaping the US government.

A particularly effective scene is early on. Rumsfeld (Steve Carell) tells Cheney (Christian Bale) about Nixon's plans to start bombing Cambodia without congressional approval. He says it casually, revealing his lack of qualms. Almost immediately afterwards, Rumsfeld laughs when Cheney asks what the two of them believe; after all, their only belief is in power. No surprise that within three decades, they would be reshaping the globe in their image.

Excellent movie, with support from Amy Adams (Lynne), Sam Rockwell (Dubya), Lily Rabe (Liz) and Alison Pill (Mary)
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jboothmillard6 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I saw the trailer and images of the leading actor playing the well-known American politician and businessman, he was almost completely unrecognisable and a spitting image of the real man, I became much more keen to see it when it became part of Awards Season, from Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated writer and director Adam McKay (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, The Big Short). Basically in 1963 Wyoming, Dick Cheney (Golden Globe winning, and Oscar and BAFTA nominated Christian Bale) was working as a lineman after his struggles with alcohol led him to drop out of Yale University. His wife Lynne (Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated Amy Adams) convinces him to get himself clean, after he is arrested for driving while intoxicated, and in 1969 he finds work as a White House intern during the Nixon Administration. Working under Nixon's economic adviser, Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell), Cheney becomes a savvy political operative. He discovers the true power of the executive branch after overhearing a conversation between Henry Kissinger (Kirk Bovill) and President Richard Nixon discussing the secret bombing of Cambodia. Rumsfeld's abrasive attitude leads to him and Cheney being distanced from Nixon, which works in both men's favours following Nixon's resignation, Cheney becomes White House Chief of Staff for President Gerald Ford (Bill Camp) while Rumsfeld becomes Secretary of Defense. After Ford is voted out of office, Cheney gives an awkward and uncharismatic campaign speech as he runs to be representative for Wyoming, and he suffers his first heart attack. Lynne campaigns on her husband's behalf while he recovers, helping him to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. During the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, Cheney supports a raft of conservative, pro-business policies favouring the fossil fuel industries. Cheney next serves as Secretary of Defense under President George H. W. Bush (John Hillner) during the Gulf War. Outside of politics, Cheney and Lynne accept their youngest daughter Mary (Alison Pill) coming out as a lesbian. Though Cheney develops ambitions to run for president, he decides to retire from public life to spare Mary from media scrutiny. During the presidency of Bill Clinton, Cheney becomes the CEO of Halliburton while his wife raises golden retrievers and writes books, a false epilogue claims that Cheney lived the rest of his life healthy and happy and credits begin rolling, only for the film to continue following Cheney receiving a phone call. Cheney is invited to become running mate to George W. Bush (Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated Sam Rockwell) during the 2000 United States presidential election. Cheney recognises the younger Bush is more interested in pleasing his father than attaining power, he agrees under the condition that he given "mundane" executive responsibilities. Cheney becomes Vice President, working alongside Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, legal counsel David Addington (Don McManus), and the Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby (Justin Kirk), to exercise control of key foreign policy and defense decisions throughout Washington. When the September 11 attacks occur in 2001, Cheney and Rumsfeld respond and maneuver to initiate U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, resulting in many civilian deaths and the torture of prisoners. As the War on Terror mounts, Cheney continues to struggle with persistent heart attacks, other events covered include his endorsement of the Unitary executive theory, the Plame affair, the accidental shooting of Harry Whittington, and tensions between the Cheney sisters over same-sex marriage. Cheney's actions that lead to thousands of deaths and the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant result in him receiving record-low approval ratings by the end of the Bush administration. Cheney needs an emergency heart transplant operation, Kurt (Jesse Plemons), who is narrating the story, is a veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, he is killed in a motor accident while jogging, his healthy heart is transplanted into Cheney in 2012. A few months later, Cheney's daughter Liz (Lily Rabe) runs for a Senate seat in Wyoming, but Mary is left angry and upset as she is opposed to same-sex marriage, she later wins the election and steps into hr father's former Congressional position. At the end of the film, an irate Cheney breaks the fourth wall and delivers a monologue to the audience, stating that he has no regrets about anything he has done in his career. Also starring Eddie Marsan as Paul Wolfowitz, LisaGay Hamilton as Condoleezza Rice, Shea Whigham as Wayne Vincent, Tyler Perry as Colin Powell, Alex Kingi as Osama Bin Laden, Alfred Molina as Waiter and Naomi Watts as News Anchor. Bale gives a superb performance as the real-life public figure who is charismatic but cold and silently menacing, and there is fantastic support from Carell being blunt and abrasive, Rockwell as the simplistic Bush, and Adams as the supportive wife. I'm not going to pretend I understood everything going on, I know little about politics, but I recognised key events, and it wasn't boring, with the many cinematic gimmicks to tell the story, and the humour does work, an interesting political comedy drama. It won the Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and it was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Original Screenplay for Adam McKay and Best Film Editing, it won the BAFTA for Best Editing, and it was nominated for Best Original Screenplay and Best Make Up/Hair, and it was nominated the Golden Globes for Best Screenplay and Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. Good!
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Half satire, half factual, how Cheney and Bush created havoc in the world order.
TxMike13 April 2019
My wife and I watched this at home on DVD from our public library. Having lived as adults through the times depicted here, it was interesting to see how the "behind the scenes" accounts were handled. Christian Bale was nominated for Best Actor and now, having seen all nominated performances, to me he deserved the Oscar. He really becomes Dick Cheney.

From Wyoming, Dick Cheney was by any accounts an underachiever, spurred on by his wife under threat of divorce to make something of himself. His path was long and winding but the focus for this movie is his stint as VP under Bush the Younger. Cheney is arguably the force behind the infamous attack on Iraq, justified by false claims of WMDs in Iraq. Which destabilized the Middle East and allowed the rise of Al Qaeda. If Bush and Cheney had not been in office, and only there for a technicality in Florida voting, the world would be a different and safer place today.

Democratic societies work, in theory, because voters will gravitate towards those most qualified to be leaders. Unfortunately as history shows this isn't always the case because unsophisticated voters can't tell when a candidate is deceiving them. And bad leaders are elected, all over the world.

Good, entertaining movie. Bale is great.
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::Dick Cheney Penguin noise::
Quinoa198428 December 2018
Such a fascinating and unexpectedly engrossing first half - curiously, actually split in half by "those" end credits - that it's a shame the second is a cliff-notes style simplified mess. And I know that for a lot of audiences, younger viewers especially who either were kids or just didn't really know what was going on from 2000 to 2008, this will may be extra interesting or OMG what was all that but... I have to speak for myself, and it got to be less... Just less the longer it went on.

Bale is magnetic, so is Adams who is channeling the same scary energy she had in The Master, Carrell is also a lot of fun, and there's some parts that are funny and startling and it manages to give us about 90% monster and 10% decent human being, which is kind of incredible. But by the end, like Oliver Stone's W (and McKay is channeling Stone far more than Stone did in that film), I wonder what is this person? What does he actually want? Is being a mediocre white man all that its about? Is it only power? Greed doesn't even see to be a big deal here for Cheney, who got rich as all get out from the Halliburton, nevermind the so-called war. So... What is it? The very end when Bale faces the audience may hold a clue(?) I don't know if smug is the word Id use for all of this, but glib is definitely it. And the style of The Big Short, even if it isn't pushed so far, doesn't work for it. It either needed to be full Strangelove (or better yet, the wild and erratic politics of The Favourite which is also out now), or maybe more traditional or focused. It's a B or B minus paper that should be an A. And it isn't.
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Good acting but slow pace
Gordon-1113 January 2019
This film tells the story of the political career of Cheney.

I'm impressed by Sam Rockwell's performance, as I can really see Bush in him. Christian Bale seems to have undergone some physical transformation for his role well. Acting is strong, but the story is very slow paced. I found the film rather boring. There are instances that the film feels weird, such as the menu in the restaurant.
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Excellent: entertaining, edifying and plausible
grantss24 December 2019
The life of Dick Cheney, from his wild youth in Wyoming, to his climb through the Republican Party ranks in Washington DC, to his term as Vice President of the United States.

I had low expectations for this movie. While it is written and directed by Adam McKay, writer-director of the superb The Big Short, and features an impressive cast, I figured this was going to be a one-dimensional hatchet job on Cheney. I am certainly not a fan of the former VP, but a movie that relies on caricatures, stereotypes and basically just belittling someone you don't agree with makes for dull, monotone viewing.

To my surprise, the movie comes off as feeling reasonably balanced. McKay is also not a fan of Cheney, but he presents the subject in a measured, documentary-like fashion, and doesn't stoop to portraying Cheney as a buffoon. If anything, he is shown as being incredibly good at politics and doing what he does (nefarious or not).

Script and direction are top-notch, making for a slick, entertaining production. The course of events, as presented, is highly plausible, making for edifying, interesting viewing. The introductory notes explain that not much is known about Cheney's life, personal or political, especially during the GW Bush era, so much of the content McKay had to create by filling in the gaps. Thus the 'facts' are open to McKay's creativity and biases. Even so, what emerges on the screen is highly believable and makes for riveting viewing.

McKay is aided by a superb cast that delivers in spades. Christian Bale is excellent as Cheney, getting his mannerisms down perfectly. Amy Adams, Sam Rockwell and Steve Carell are great as Lynne Cheney, George W Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, respectively. Bale, Adams and Rockwell received Oscar nominations for their performances. Even the supporting cast includes some biggish names: Alison Pill (as Mary Cheney), Eddie Marsan (as Paul Wolfowitz), Bill Camp (as Gerald Ford), Tyler Perry (as Colin Powell).

One thing: continue watching after the end credits. McKay pre-empts the partisan backlash the movie is likely to cause, and it's hilarious.
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Temper Tantrum
evanston_dad16 January 2019
My father uses his Facebook feed almost exclusively to irritate his Christian conservative relatives about Donald Trump. He posts every single meme that comes his way as long as it shows Trump making a stink face above some sarcastic comment about what a goon he is. He never links to any kind of reasoned, articulate article full of facts and logical argument. There are plenty out there that he could use to deride Trump, but it's easier to forward some facile, childish message instead.

I agree in sentiment with everything my father posts, but I'm considering blocking him because I'm sick and tired of post after post after post about how awful Trump is. I KNOW how awful Trump is, and I don't need a daily reminder (I have Trump himself as my daily reminder), especially when nothing new is being said.

"Vice" is like the movie equivalent of my father's Facebook feed. I pretty much loathed Dick Cheney and Bush's entire administration when they were in office, so you'd think I would be the perfect audience for this movie, which is pretty much a two-hour smear campaign of Cheney and his associates. But instead, I found myself annoyed beyond measure by Adam McKay's obnoxious movie, which recreates the feeling of being trapped in a room with someone the day after the person he voted for didn't win the presidential election.

Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Sam Rockwell and the rest of the cast try valiantly to do something with the material they are given, but they get buried in a mound of McKay petulance. This is a film without nuance, without subtlety, and without any real interest in exploring the dynamics of Cheney the man or of the Bush White House. This is a film where a character we're supposed to hate says something evil, and the camera cuts to a group of his cronies literally cackling like a cabal of witches. At the end, an alarmist montage seems to be implying that Cheney is single-handedly responsible for every bad thing happening today on Earth. Terrorism? Cheney's fault. Tsunamis? Cheney's fault. Indigestion? Cheney's fault. Let's not give the man too much credit, ok?

And one of McKay's worst decisions is to have the film narrated by the man who served as Cheney's heart donor. This man, who speaks directly to the camera in one of McKay's most annoying directorial tics, apologizes to us for keeping Cheney alive. I hope that man's family doesn't see this movie, because that tacky and insensitive sentiment is a slap in the face to them and the loved one they're probably grieving for.

Mostly, "Vice" is hopelessly irrelevant, despite McKay's determination to make us believe that Cheney is a demon from Hell hovering over all of us and planning our painful deaths. Why do we get a movie about this now? I lived through this, and guess what?.....I've moved on to being outraged by a whole new administration, one that's much worse. I never thought I'd be saying this but I'd welcome back Bush and his cronies as a substitute for what we've got now.

I'm flabbergasted that this movie keeps getting so much serious awards attention. I have to believe it's only because its tone of liberal outrage resonates with Hollywood.

Grade: D
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brace yourself
ferguson-623 December 2018
Greetings again from the darkness. While it's happening, we don't always recognize life in terms of future historical merit. Time passes and perspective becomes possible. It's at this point when we can reevaluate the actions and results of those involved. One might call this the benefit of hindsight, but philosopher George Santayana is credited with saying "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Filmmaker Adam McKay has moved on from his sophomoric comedies (STEP BROTHERS, ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGANDY) to full bore political satire, first with his "Funny or Die" videos (co-produced with Will Ferrell), then to his searing look at the financial crisis of the mortgage market with THE BIG SHORT (for which he won an Oscar for adapted screenplay), and now to the power dynamics within the Bush-Cheney administration ... and how a quiet, unassuming insider became the most powerful man in America.

In one of the biggest casting head-scratchers of all-time, Christian Bale takes on the role of Dick Cheney. We are barely one scene in before all doubts are assuaged, and we are reminded yet again why Mr. Bale is one of the most talented and fascinating actors in cinematic history. With the weight gain, the hair, the growling voice (not unlike Bale's Batman), the asymmetrical smirk - Bale becomes Cheney on screen and that allows us to focus on the manner in which filmmaker McKay unfolds the events - many of which we remember, even if we were blissfully unaware of the backstory.

Cheney is first seen in 1963 Wyoming as a drunk and somewhat rowdy youngster. The film then bounces the timeline to key events such as Cheney's time as Donald Rumsfeld's (Steve Carell) intern/lackey and the 1970's (Bethesda, his being named youngest White House Chief of Staff, Ford's loss to Carter, and the campaign for Wyoming Congressman). Cheney's wife Lynne (played by Amy Adams) is portrayed as more ambitious than her husband (at least early on), and in one searing scene, yanks a young Cheney out of his funk and onto the upwardly mobile track. Were the timing 15 years forward, it's not difficult to imagine Lynne as the rising political star.

The story really gets interesting once George HW Bush is elected and Cheney is brought back to D.C. as Secretary of Defense. From this point on, his near subversive quest for power is in overdrive. There are many quotes cautioning to 'beware the quiet man', and most fit the Cheney on display here. You've likely seen in the trailer where a finger-lickin' George W Bush (Sam Rockwell) chows on barbeque as he offers the VP job to Cheney. Surprisingly, this is one of only two scenes where McKay makes Bush look like a buffoon. If you haven't figured it out by now, it should be clear that McKay is not one to give the benefit of the doubt here ... his mission is to highlight all ludicrous actions of our nation's leaders during this time.

Supporting work is provided by a deep cast including Lilly Rabe and Allison Pill as the Cheney daughters (Liz and Mary), Justin Kirk as Scooter Libby, Bill Camp as Gerald Ford, LisaGay Hamilton as Condoleezza Rice, Tyler Perry as Colin Powell, Eddie Marsan as Paul Wolfowitz, and Don McManus as David Addington. There is also Bob Stephenson as Rush Limbaugh, cameos from Naomi Watts and Alfred Molina, and Jesse Plemons as the narrator whose true role is held at bay until near the film's end.

September 11, 2001 brings on a very interesting segment when there is an emergency White House evacuation, and Cheney is whisked into a secure room and appears to overstep his authority ... at least that's how it appears to everyone other than Cheney. He is described as having power "like a ghost", and it's this scene and the follow-up discussions about Afghanistan, that McKay believes best exemplifies Cheney's lust for power, and how 'right and wrong' are secondary to him.

Actual clips of Nixon, Reagan, bin Laden, Carter, and Obama are dropped into segments providing a quasi-documentary feel at times. Cheney's heart issues, the political quandary resulting from his daughter coming out as gay, and the involvement of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and the Koch brothers all play a role here, as does the Unitary Executive Theory and the legal specifics that cause much debate. Also on display is some of the least complementary eyeglass fashion across 3 decades.

Even though his approach leans pretty far left, filmmaker McKay is to be applauded for a most entertaining look at how our government officials can manipulate policy and public statements, and may even stoop to focus groups in better understanding the views of the American people. Editor Hank Corwin (Oscar nominated for THE BIG SHORT) is a big part of maintaining the quick pace of the film, and the use of fishing as a metaphor somehow works. "America" from West Side Story is a fitting song to end the clever, funny and thought-provoking film and our look at the rare politician who amassed power while mostly avoiding the publicity that other politicians seek. Watch at your own risk - depending on your politics.
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A complete and fast moving indictment of Dick Cheney
phd_travel28 January 2019
Even after all the smoke has cleared about the Iraq WMD scandal it wasn't clear to me what DC's exact role was except that he played some Machiavellian role in the Iraq fiasco. This complete and fast moving biopic often hilariously and sometimes tragically tells his story from rise to present. All the blame for the mess in the Middle East now is totally laid at his feet and his role in the Iraq invasion and in W's administration is carefully illuminated. A variety of story telling techniques is used. There are many astounding insights including Lynne Cheney's role.

The make up is fantastic. Christian is made up to be an uncannily lookalike. He acts well with the crooked grin and all. I know he wanted to imitate DC's speech but it's hard to make out his words occasionally. Amy is transformed to this round faces Lady Macbeth. Condi, Colin Powell etc are dead ringers. Only Steve Carell doesn't look enough like Rumsfeld.

Whether you agree totally with the interpretation of the facts or not this is a fascinating movie.
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Millions of people dying because of people trying to save their faces, let's just make a movie about it.
deloudelouvain27 March 2019
Political drama's are not really the kind of movies I would normally go for but since there was a humoristic twist to it I did enjoy it more than I thought I would. Based on true facts or not doesn't really change my opinion about world politics, or in this case about American politics, as to me there is just too much corruption, fake two-faced people, wolves in suits, greed, and power hungry vultures. I'm European and my view on republicans is pretty low, so this movie is certainly not going to change my opinion on those repulsive people and the people that vote for them. The good things about Vice are the cast and the make-up artists. Christian Bale is just great in his role as well as his metamorphosis, credits to the people that made him look like that, as well as Sam Rockwell that just looks like he could be related to Bush. Steve Carell and Amy Adams are also sublime in their roles. For the acting the movie is certainly worth the detour, for the story also if you're into that kind of stories.
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"Beware of the Quiet Man"
lavatch3 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
There was great imagination in turning a tragic moment of American history into a mordant satire. The writer-director of "Vice" has a background in writing for "Saturday Night Live," and he never lacked for comic ideas. But a curious point described in the bonus track of the DVD was that the actors seemed to be approaching their roles like method actors, internalizing their roles to capture the essence of real people. The result was a discordant style in which the serious historical events apppeared to be trivialized.

The film was successful in compressing the lives of Dick and Lynne Cheney in an epic story. We follow their lives over the course of decades in American government. The goal was to depict Dick Cheney as a "quiet man," who worms his way into the halls of power through the legalistic concept of "unitary executive theory," which the film claims was the brainchild of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Another way of looking at his rise to power was that he was a cunning, ambitious political operative.

There was clearly some good research apparent in the film with details about such key figures as Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, the two Bush presidents, and an array of other historical figures. But the focus is clearly on the two Cheneys and their ruthless tactics in acquiring and using power. At one point, the filmmakers created dialogue that resonated of Shakespeare with Lynne and Dick doing their best imitations of Mr. and Mrs. Macbeth. Like many of the scenes in this film, the Shakespearean sequence didn't work.

The major shortcoming to this film was the over-the-top comedy. In places, the style was so excessive that the genuine tragedy of the response to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, was lost. The bonus track of the DVD includes a deleted scene that was a musical, filled with kick-dancing choreography and a dazzling diva, depicting Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld in the Congressional cafeteria.

But the devastating effects of American policy decisions on the nation and the world from the George W. Bush administration were undercut by the comedy. Good satire should expose social ills. But, in "Vice," the comedy never fully meshed with the realism. The actors and production personnel seemed to be having a jolly time in making film. But, for the audience, it all just seemed in bad taste, considering the film's subject matter. In other words, this film was a long, strung out SNL program.
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Superb Performances Shine in Okay Biopic!
namashi_127 December 2018
Writer-Director Adam McKay takes on Dick Cheney, his edgy life and his disastrous decisions in power in 'Vice', a biographical comedy-drama, that works in bits. What engrosses the film are the performances, by actors who seem to never falter even in so-so material.

'Vice' Synopsis: The story of Dick Cheney, an unassuming bureaucratic Washington insider, who quietly wielded immense power as Vice President to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today.

'Vice' explores Cheney's highly controversial life with less sharpness that it hopes. While McKay has a blast in parts by making the most bleak situations comical for relief, he isn't entirely on feet while exploring the story beyond the surface. I, at no point, knew if I am suppose to watch Cheney do what he's going to, or am I suppose to question it? This is a plain biopic, that despite some arresting moments, remains an ordinary watch.

Mckay's Screenplay has moments of pleasure, but it never comes up as a whole. Its, at best, arresting in parts. McKay's Direction is more superior, as the filmmaker shows command in many sequences. Greig Fraser's Cinematography is top-notch. Hank Corwin's Editing is crisp. Art & Costume Design are super. A special mention for the superbly done Make-Up and Nicholas Britell's Score.

Known for emboding every character he plays, real or reel, Christian Bale once again delves deep into portraying his part to perfection. Bale becomes Dick Cheney in an urgent, fierce performance, that proves his repertoire for the zillionth time. Bale's physical transformation is something to behold. Amy Adams aces as Lynne Cheney, in a performance that comes across as strongly (or even more) as Bale's. Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush, is decidedly caricature-ish, while Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld, has a blast. Alison Pill as Mary Cheney, is outstanding in a brief role. Jesse Plemons as Kurt, the narrator, is first-rate.

On the whole, 'Vice' isn't a knockout, but the performances undoubtedly are. Watch it for the fine acting.
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Bale alone worth experiencing in an otherwise powerful docudrama about power in the oval office.
jdesando18 December 2018
"Whaddaya say?... I want you to be my VP. I want you, you're ma vice." George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell)

And so it goes. In the highly-entertaining and informative docudrama Vice, Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) becomes the most powerful vice president in the history of the US presidency. As writer/director Adam McKay plays it, some humor applies because Bush's childlike persona evokes smiles even in dire circumstances such as the invasion of Iraq.

In its documentary element, Vice is an accurate history of the surprising rise of both Cheney and Bush, but the story is Cheney's. From his drunken early days to his sobering by wife Lynne, Cheney is nothing if not an adaptor with a highly-developed big-picture ambition, a politician who can see the gift that 9/11 gave to those like himself with global ambitions. Bale's impersonation of Cheney is stunning in both physical transformation and personality heft, an imitation that carries the personal stamp of an outsize personality.

In the personal element, Amy Adams's Lynne is just as smart and adaptable as I remember, a force behind her husband in a time when women could gain power mostly through their husbands. Lynne would publish books on American history and weigh in at pillow-talk time with sage reactions to Dick's challenges.

Crisply photographed and edited, McKay's story is immensely aided by an occasional tongue in cheek. Like our current time, if some governmental actions seem absurd, they are. When Vice runs credits midway, our confusion is alleviated when the story shows Cheney accepting an offer to visit the White House to discuss the vice presidency. In other words, his political life is by no means over.

Admittedly, at times the film moves too fast over history, lacking depth other docudramas embrace. The audience might have been better with more interaction between Cheney and Bush. Such good acting, when the chemistry is there, should be expanded:

Dick Cheney: "I believe... we can make this work." George W. Bush: "Hehehe!"

To teach and delight is a worthwhile motto for any filmmaker. Adam McKay fulfills that promise.
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Where's Ricky B**by When This Race Started?
DKosty1237 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I looked at other reviews of this movie before I went to see it. I expected a Political Farce and in a way it is one. When I saw Adam Scott who created The Anchorman, Ricky Bobby (Taladega Nights), and a lot of other Will Farrell films wrote the script, I expected Comedy. With Brad Pitt and Farrell producing it, I expected a lot of laughs. While there are some laughs here, the film is really a political lightening rod and more.

Cheney's friends, insiders all, helped George W Bush win the Florida recount according to this movies account.

Vice President Dick's power is more of an insider power than even these film makers imagined. Of course now there are some issues today these events shaped which are not addressed here, but at times the film overpowers the viewer with it's musings. It illustrates very well why this country not only has not changed but why we can not make progress.

For those who wanted Hillary Clinton to be President, it goes over the highlights of her speech supporting the Iraq war (archive footage). In other words, if the Republicans and this Vice President are responsible for the Iraq war, the Clinton Republican in sheeps clothing ( Hillary is a former Walmart Board member) along with other Democrats at the time were together in this power elite alliance. That is the problem with the Democrats still in power, while they pointed the finger at Dick, they actually supported him insupporting the Iraq invasion effort. This explains the problems created in foreign relations during Obamas term when ignorant power elite put Clinton into a responsible role (Bengazi) she could not and did not handle resulting in some tragic deaths.

In a major spoiler, at the end is the best punch line of all time. "Liberals always require facts." I had to laugh at that. Liberals rarely require facts. Liberal Science states that "Increasing taxes and throwing money at the Climate Change Problems will fix the problems." Throwing money at problems only hides them, and it never fixes anything. Money is used to reshape facts and make it look like the problems are getting fixed.

This film paints the fact that the power elite always get what they want and Vice President Dick got even more than that as part of that elite. Facts do not stop the elite. Not only does this film make them up, but this film shows the line between the elite and the rest of us starkly, and is produced by those very same elite, The film almost makes Cheney look like a hero when Mary tells him she is gay and he says "We love you no matter what."

The film does make nice use of archive footage to paint Dick Cheney's life. It starts with his DWI drive as a youth, to his near failure as a man until his wife scolds him and knocks him out of it. Cheney's power under Nixon and Ford is explored some, and in ways I have never seen on screen before. In a way it illustrates the way Nixon and the elite put Ford into power so he would pardon Nixon. That pardon is a real disaster of American History, and Cheney helped.

The recount of 911 with Cheney's role in the response is shown, as well as his support of the response. Since the facts focus on Cheney, 911 gets a little short changed. Barack Obama gets sworn in (archive footage) and then the film focus shifts to Cheney's health and continuous focus is put on the abuse of power created by the powers assumed by the President (at the request of Cheney according to the film) that destroyed Americans privacy. The film goes on to Cheney's heart transplant and to 2016 and 2017.

An important point skipped is that with Barack Obama as President and one party rule, invasion of privacy's powers given W Bush after 911 for the President were extended when they were supposed to expire by that party. The film dwells on these invasion of privacy powers at the end of the film and the fact it is still there, despite the Democrats chance to let those powers expire when Obama took office.

Cheney is a part of the ignorant power elite, not the entire problem which is much bigger than him. When your knowledgeable enough to realize this, you can appreciate this movie more than anyone can imagine. (And this explains current issues very well) Did Cheney run W Bushs Admin?

This movie does not solve any problems. It does show why power and corruption by an ignorant power elite class beyond Dick Cheney have created a more dangerous world today.

An ignorant Corrupt Power Elite will kill us long before Climate Change will, and much quicker. That is the strange depressing message this movie delivers, totally by accident.Rather than condemning Cheney alone, it condemns an entirely disfunctional system.

I thought that Cheney's shot gun was supposed to be the blast accident I got from this film, when I saw the trailer.

"Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!"
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An unlikely guy who's tough, cold, and heartless becomes second in command, yet pushes all the major buttons.
blanbrn25 December 2018
Must say that director Adam McKay has made a wonderful and super film in "Vice" as it really is a good bio type doc on former Vice President Dick Cheney. Plus the performance from Christian Bale is spot on he looks, acts, and talks, just like the real Dick!(he reportedly gained 40 pounds to play the part! And hand Bale a best actor golden globe and Oscar!) It begins so unlikely that this under performing and common Wyoming cowboy guy who loves the bottle and beer will make it anywhere. As after flunking out of an Ivy league college Dick appears down in the dumps. Yet his rock and stone wife Lynne(in a blunt and elegant turn from Amy Adams) advises him to shape up or ship out and change his ways.

It's upon a congressional internship that Dick's meeting and making a connection with Donald Rumsfeld(Steve Carell) changes his life forever. Soon and later Dick's connections in Washington get him somewhere as he becomes a chief of staff to the president, runs and gets elected to congress, then serves as secretary of defense, then he's the CEO of a large corporate business company. Now talk about a lucky man!

However old Dick has his problems and is from time to time behind the 8 ball as he's overweight with a pot belly and his ticker is not the greatest as heart problems almost derail his life and career. Plus his youngest daughter is gay. Yet by being an insider with connections Cheney stays the course as his biggest gift and surprise awaits. Now what!? Yes Dick is named vice president a running mate on the ticket of George W. Bush(in a life like performance from Sam Rockwell). And in a close razor thin 2000 presidential election Bush-Cheney win! Now he's the VP!

Now with unlimited access and connections of corporate and business dealings it's back room and under the table deals that let Dick's power grow to unseen levels. As it's clear that Cheney though second in charge pushed all of the major buttons in the Bush administration. As his advice and inner workings played a key role in the Iraq war which seem to be driven by money and greed and oil along with ego and a power trip.

Overall super film for any who enjoy bio type movies about politics and history no matter what your political side, and no matter if you where a fan of Cheney or not like him or hate him, see this film as it shows how one man gained unlimited power thru access of connections. As it's clear Dick Cheney was clearly the most powerful Vice president of our time who was tough as stone and ruthless.
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