Vice Movie Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

When Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) was young and studied at Yale, he liked to get drunk and punch someone in the face, for which he was kicked out of Yale with a wild bang. Then he went to electricians and there he also liked to get drunk. His friend from school days Lynn (Amy Adams), the second time rescuing the vomited Dick from the police station, warned the boy that he was going down a crooked path and if he didn’t come to his senses, sir, then she would leave him, sir.

Dick came to his senses. He studied at the University of Wyoming and went on an internship at the White House. There he really liked the young energetic politician Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell), who, unlike Dick, never went into his pocket for words, after which Cheney first worked for Rumsfeld, and then somehow slowly became the most influential US vice president under the foolish president, unleashed a war with Iraq, helped create ISIS with his own hands, allowed torture and all that.

He also loved fly fishing, had about twenty heart attacks, and one of his daughters is a lesbian.


Adam McKay is one of the writers on Saturday Night Live, directing several comedies with Will Ferrell – mostly above average. In 2015, he released the film “The Big Short”, which told about the causes of the 2008 global economic crisis. The film had a very high rating and excellent reviews from critics, and McKay won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for it.

“Power” (in the original, the picture is called Vice, that is, vice president) is, as it were, the story of Dick Cheney, one of the most influential vice presidents in US history. McKay honestly warns viewers that this picture cannot be considered an accurate biopic, because, they say, Dick Cheney is a very private person, so McKay gave free rein to his imagination. Moreover, judging by the film, he did not deny himself anything with this fantasy.

When you watch the first half of the film, at first it seems that this is a biopic, filmed on the personal order of Dick Cheney – before that everything is sugary-glorious, and the production style is a kind of poster-primitive, clearly designed for a dumb audience. (At least I thought so.)

Then, at some point, to my great surprise, “Vlast” is suddenly somehow rebuilt, and then everything goes in the very recognizable and very unloved Michael Moore style of “Fahrenheit 9/11”, which can be briefly referred to as “Khinshtein wets Rushailo”. Well-known facts presented as revelations, outright fictions (McKay probably calls it “reconstruction of historical events”), primitive associative visual series, and all this is suddenly interspersed with obvious buffoonery in the style of SNL and you stop understanding what you are looking at: an attempt to comprehend this very a difficult and very influential political figure, or the next SNL sketches, which, for some unknown reason, were collected into a very long and very boring film, despite all sorts of attempts by the director to be sarcastic and sarcastic from time to time.

Also, you constantly remember about SNL, looking at the main characters. Critics sing eulogies to Christian Bale, who played his usual game of “lose 20 kilos, gain 20 kilos, lose 20 kilos, gain 20 kilos.” Here he put on 20 kilos. However, they managed to organize the production process in such a way as to first shoot Bale thin, similar (not much) to Dick Cheney of those dissolute times, and then shoot the fat one, well, we must pay tribute to the make-up artists – Bale was plastered with might and main, and if a real resemblance is achieved everything -did not succeed, then at least Bale did not forget to purse his lips all the time, as Cheney did.

In Bale (perhaps this is the vision of the director himself), Dick Cheney prefers to keep quiet, a little slow-witted, unable to speak in public, but why he made such a career at all and how he achieved this power is completely incomprehensible. Also, his political career is given, so to speak, to such a large grinding that his tenure as US Secretary of Defense under Bush Sr. for four years is demonstrated by a single phrase: “Dick Cheney became Secretary of Defense, the sixth person in the country.” Blackout.

Awesome biopic, right? But there one would have to mention the very successful operation “Desert Storm”, and here the director came close to the section “Khinshtein wets Rushailo”, so it did not fit into the paradigm and was merged, amen.

With Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush, the traditional SNL-style buffoonery blossomed so wildly that there was a clear suspicion that the director was simply mocking the audience. Donald Rumsfeld, in his opinion, is a cynical little man who makes dirty jokes and tells dirty jokes in the style of Michael from The Office (actually, Rumsfeld is played here by the same Steve Carell).

George Bush Jr. is an absolutely caricatured fool who is not at all clear why they are being let out of the garage, and he is just a puppet whose strings are pulled by the all-powerful Dick Cheney. Also, McKay did not hesitate to insert an absolutely moronic scene of how George W. Bush gets drunk at a big reception of George W. Bush, so that he has to be taken out by security. Well, the reconstruction of historical events, which is already there.

At the same time, McKay, of course, also talks about important, but, by the way, long-known things, which were also mentioned in the same “Fahrenheit 9/11”: about how the United States falsified evidence at the UN, about how how they invaded Iraq under false pretenses, how they entangled the whole world with surveillance and wiretapping, how they used torture, and so on. Only according to Michael Moore behind all this is a fucking cowboy George W. Bush, and according to McKay – muddy fat man Dick Cheney.

Well, yes, it is clear that all these doves of the world are behind this, and not only them – there were enough and enough other bright characters.

But the manner of presenting both Moore and McKay is, in my opinion, the worst examples of propaganda, just the opposite. And propaganda – it is propaganda from any side, whatever one may say. Even if it is propaganda of eternal liberal values.

All in all, I really didn’t like this movie. After watching the first hour, I just abandoned it, thinking that it was a custom biopic. Very primitive tricks were already visible there, which annoy me greatly.

However, later, after reading the criticism, where many praised McKay for a bold political statement and, perhaps, even a resounding political satire, I decided to still watch the picture on the plane. Checked it out. And I saw only what I saw.

This is a very uneven, at times frankly weak and manipulative film, the director of which for himself did not understand what he actually wants to say, and most importantly – how he wants to say it. The result was neither. Not a biopic, not a resounding political satire, but some SNL sketches, stretched for some reason into a very long and very boring film.

I’m sorry if I accidentally offended anyone or accidentally didn’t offend anyone.

PS Yes, I forgot to say. Seven Oscar nominations, one win for makeup and hair. Five Golden Globe nominations and one win for Best Actor for Christian Bale. Christian, accepting the award, said: “Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration for playing this role.” Almost failed at the box office. Which is strange.

PPS Dick Cheney at his wedding to Lynn.

Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld in 1975.


Power / Vice movie meaning

Director: Adam McKay Cast: Christian Bale, Eddie Marsan, Amy Adams, Bill Camp, Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell, Jesse Plemons, Alison Pill, Justin Kirk, Lisa Gay Hamilton

Budget: $40M, Worldwide Grossing: $76M
Tragicomedy, USA, 2018, 132 min.

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