(spoiler free)

From Batman to Fatman, Christian Bale is back delivering a heavyweight performance as Dick Cheney in ‘Vice’, a film much more satirical and playful than its trailers may have suggested.

Presented in a slightly back and forth non-linear fashion, ‘Vice’ ranges in history between Cheney’s odd DUI in the 60s to present day politics, but begins its storytelling with the 9/11 attacks. As with any biopic, especially political, ‘Vice’ explores Cheney’s growth in power and encounters or allegiances with other famed politicians. Collaborating with Bale again, comedy director Adam McKay delivers his satirical form of comedy through the intertwining of traditional storytelling and slight fourth-wall breaks, in a sometimes messy fashion. The elite-level satire, however, is most notably at its best when Alfred Molina pops up on screen – keep your eyes peeled for this restaurant scene.

There is a slight concern that the semi-occasional jumping back and forth into history will disturb linear narrative lovers, but that is just quite simply the way in which ‘Vice’ presents its story, and honestly, it works. Though the historical accuracy is debatable, there is a notion that it doesn’t really matter. In retrospect, as depicted on screen, much of the Bush administration’s ‘war’ handlings were, for lack of a better phrase, seriously poor – though at the time they were skeptically regarded too by many, but MURIKA! Through comedic glasses or not, the content within, 100% accurate or not, will have you questioning how such actions even occurred. But as far as percentages go, it is in no doubt that the accuracy percentage of ‘Vice’ won’t be as low as Cheney’s 13% approval rating.

Looking at the performances within ‘Vice’, it has been minorly suggested online that an impersonation isn’t a performance, thus Bale’s impersonation/performance is in question, but here is the truth: he kills it. Bale’s Oscar nomination is fully deserved, though there is of course the grand debate as to whether he will be triumphant or not. As the ultimate method actor, Bale delivers again, and again, and again. From athletically fit to beer-gut fat, he has the selfish ability to establish himself as a spectacle within a film that could be a spectacle itself or not. Almost on-par to Tom Cruise’s batsh*t crazy stunts in the recent ‘Mission: Impossible’ films, Bale too can draw a lot of a film’s buzz towards the performer instead of the film as a whole. In doing this, the 2011 Oscar-winner, has established himself as a legitimate star of mainstream cinema, despite the lack of franchise work since 2012’s ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.

Also Oscar-nominated for supporting roles are both Sam Rockwell (again) and Amy Adams, yet in levels of seriousness, their respective characters are polar opposites. In each frame of George W. Bush, there is an ambiance of hilarity because Rockwell, like Bale, kills it – the look, accent, facial expressions and so on. Perfect. Adams’ Lynne is so firm as a character, that her presentations on screen reinforce an infrequent seriousness to the subject.

In terms of morality, however, is it right to mix war politics and war in general with comedy? Is it one of cinema’s deadliest cocktails? Is it one of cinema’s most underrated successes? From ‘Dr. Strangelove’ to ‘Three Kings’ and now ‘Vice’, satire mixed with war on the battlefield or within the offices commissioning the war crimes, can either comedically destroy a serious matter or horrifically offend those involved.

Ultimately, if ‘Vice’ wins big at the Oscars, there will be shouts of the Academy being “Lib-tards” or whatever. Whether it grabs Best Picture or not, ‘Vice’ is a terrific political satire of which you should both exchange your money to see and subsequently purchase the home video release; nothing better than Cheney’s thinking face or Bush’s confused face in 4K.

Written by Dominic Hastings

Rating – 8/10

Question: How many Oscars do you think ‘Vice’ will win?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)

Thanks for reading this review and please let us know what you thought about the movie! Leave a comment below or drop us a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.

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