“Vice”: Movie Review

Nick Woodhouse, Junior Analyst

“Vice”: Movie Review


Coming off his recent success with “The Big Short”, which took home the Oscar for best original screenplay, Adam McKay Christmas Day release “Vice” was assumed to make a boom come awards season. Boom it has done. “Vice”, a biopic over the life of former Vice President Dick Cheney (Christian Bale), led the Golden Globe nominations count with 5. Being a history buff and a lover of “The Big Short”, I was substantially hype to view this one in early January.




In my opinion, there’s a lot of good mixed with a lot of questionable elements in “Vice”. To start off with what worked, the performances were exceptional. Christian Bale, an actor who I have always enjoyed watching, gives probably the best performance of his career. Bale embodied the role of Cheney. He even went off of his way to analyse Cheney’s exact vocal movements like speaking out of primarily the right side of his mouth. Bale was recently awarded the Globe for Best Actor in a musical/comedy at the Golden Globes and received his second Oscars nomination. There’s minimal doubt that Bale has a chance to take the award for Best Actor to his positive response by critics and his success thus far in awards season. It could be Amy Adams’s time to win an Oscar. It’s really crazy to think Amy Adams hasn’t sniffed an Oscar considering her lustrous career. Adams portrays Lynn Cheney and, similar to Bale, shows masterful accuracy to the real-life character. Adams really holds the only significant female role in a male dominated movie (largely due to the subject matter), and thrives really well in that spotlight. Coming off several Oscars losses and a snub for “Arrival” in 2017, Adams locked up another chance at the coveted award Tuesday with a nom for Best Supporting Actress. The Academy has been known for giving credit to actors that have been great in the industry for a substantial amount of time, and I wouldn’t be shocked if they finally reward Adams for this role regardless of supporting actress being a tight category this year. Furthermore, the Academy can’t get enough of Sam Rockwell. Coming off the high of his supporting actor victory at the Oscars last year for “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”, Rockwell has yet again scored an Oscar nomination in the same category his George Bush imitation. Although Rockwell’s Bush depiction is brilliant, there’s no chance he has over twenty minutes of screen-time in “Vice”. This just shows the Academy’s favoring towards him. I don’t think he has enough to win it this year, but it’s impressive to see him score 2 trips to the Oscars in a row.


The biggest lock this year for McKay’s film is makeup/hair-styling. Even though you could make a case for other films, “Vice” trumps all. The ability to turn these actors into the characters they play, and making it look nearly identical is unprecedented. Christian Bale doesn’t look anything like Christian Bale in this movie. I honestly forgot I was watching an imitation of Cheney halfway through the film. This is the paramount this year for makeup/hair-styling. Vice also received nominations Tuesday for achievements in Directing, best original screenplay, and Best Picture. Job well done.




This movie wasn’t perfect. A major problem I had was the directing/script. Obviously “Vice” is nominated in these categories, but I had trouble with that. I don’t think McKay deserves the directing nomination for this one. The style of the film seems a bit too similar to “The Big Short” in a way and although I loved that film… I wanted something a bit different. I understand the stick with what worked strategy, but directing seems like an award for people that really went for it, and it seemed a bit of the same thing to me. McKay’s nomination surprised me especially in a category that is extremely compact this year. Bradley Cooper and Peter Farrelly didn’t make the cut for achievements in Directing and it seems a bit stolen to me by McKay. For the script, I think it had its moments, but the dry humor didn’t always land for all viewers. I think I am a bit critical on this category because McKay’s is known for revolutionary writes, so I was expecting a lot. It wasn’t bad, but a touch weak this time.


Adding on to that, another issue I’m still debating about is the editing of the film. I think it might have been a little all over the place at times. “Vice” used lots of pictures and videos to sum up historical events and I am not sure if all of it was necessary. The movie tends to stray from the performances that carry this movie at times. It tries to be a bit much, which is understandable, I mean they are going for Best Picture. Not all of it worked.


All in all, I think the movie is solid and deserved of the nomination it received at this year’s Academy Awards, but it just not going to win. It’s a performance driven film, but not an overall beauty like the Academy is looking for in a Best Picture winner.


Grade: B