Some storytellers have an ability to take even the darkest of times in our history and add light to them. Lately, for me that has been Adam McKay for proof, all you need to do is watch The Big Short as he takes the depressing 2008 housing market collapse and made it not only entertaining but informative. Well he is back to turn his talents to the life of a one Dick Cheney who if you know anything about, might not be the most fun of subjects. Lucky for us McKay does it again and shows us that nothing can get in the way of a good story.
Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) for those who don’t know was the Vice President under George Bush Jr., or the true meaning of what it is to be the man behind the man. Cheney who started in politics and learned the ropes from Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell) during the Nixon years and worked his way up in D.C until his party was no longer in power, but that is not the end of his story in politics. His life and that of so many would change when George Bush Jr. (Sam Rockwell) came calling to have Cheney as his running mate in which Cheney agrees to after getting assurances just how things would be if they were to win. Once in office nothing can get in the way of what Cheney wants to do including his own heart which through his life was to be the only something that slowed him down. Timing is everything and for Cheney it couldn’t have been more true as he is able to make the Vice President the most powerful man in the world and do things that are still being felt til this day.
For a film like this you needed McKay’s touch because I don’t think anyone could have told this story other than him. Like with The Big Short, McKay takes the unconventional approach to tell this version of history, and just like before it simply works. McKay who wrote the script not only goes through the beats you may have heard about but finds light ways in the middle to help explain the more mundane things that give a better understanding on what you are seeing. His style is not the only thing that seems on point as his casting is impeccable and everyone seems like they were the perfect choice for the character who they are playing. Rockwell, who is always the best thing he is in actually takes a backseat to Bale who is becomes Cheney in every way. With its perfect cast and McKay’s method, Vice is hard not to enjoy and love. I now want McKay to tackle all the difficult stories, not only so I can be entertained but so I can leave the theater learning a bit more about what I just saw. With the ending of another year, I couldn’t think of a better way to end or begin a year than a little Vice in your life, trust me on this one.