Watson Reviews: Vice (Spoiler Free)

Director Adam McKay has made a move from sophomoric comedies to award caliber films; winning a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for his film The Big Short.

Could he keep the streak going.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Reading other reviews, it seems like this is a very divisive film. No surprise given the subject of the biopic.

Vice covers the life and times of Dick Cheney, the most powerful Vice-President in history.

The controversial figure rose from Congress, to Secretary of Defense. He then left public service to be the CEO of a very large oil services company.

Lured from the private sector by the son of his former boss, Cheney cuts a unique deal to redefine what the Vice-presidency means.

WHAT WORKED:

  • The lead performances were amazing. Ive seen hours of interviews with Dick Cheney and his wife Liz. Christian Bale (The Dark Knight) and Amy Adams The Man of Steel) absolutely capture their identity and still deliver rich characters. Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher) and Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2) are also strong as well. Oddly, I didn’t know it was Tyler Perry (Gone Girl) playing Colin Powell, but he was the exception. I thought his performance was lacking.
  • The story is fascinating. xxx
  • This was one unique style of filmmaking! McKay uses multi-media, cut ins, and quirky narratives to tell his story. It is non-linear and risky, but most of the time it really landed.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

  • The quirky style went too weird at times. Sometimes it didn’t land when McKay went quirky.
  • The film makes a serious subject seem silly. Before Trump, Cheney was the biggest devil to me. The film’s comedy and humor almost gloss over some of the horrors. But at other times, it actually made it more impactful.
  • I didn’t like the way they used the framing device. I really liked the narration by Jesse Plemons (Game Night) but as he promises early in the film, he is involved in the tale somehow. I won’t say more, but I didn’t like where they took it.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I really liked Vice and think there are some Oscar nominations deserved. I can see why it is divisive, but man is it a clever piece of filmmaking.

McKay took some bold choices that are not for everyone, but I respect the effort.

Overall, I give Vice a score of 9 “Longest Ever Post-Credit Scenes” out of 10.

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