alexa THE REEL: ‘Vice’ unravels life of Dick Cheney - Daily Nation

THE REEL: ‘Vice’ unravels life of Dick Cheney

Wednesday February 27 2019

Christian Bale as the lead actor is brilliant. PHOTO| COURTESY YOUTUBE

Christian Bale as the lead actor is brilliant. PHOTO| COURTESY YOUTUBE 

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Vice (2018) is a biopic focusing on Dick Cheney, the former US Vice President in George Bush Junior’s administration.

Christian Bale as the lead actor is brilliant. Bale takes his craft seriously and for this movie, he put on 18 kgs and wore a bald cap throughout the entire movie. His commitment to real life portrayals is well known.

For instance, in 2010, for the movie The Fighter, Bale played a former fighter turned drug addict and it earned him an Oscar nomination.

The two-hour-long movie. It moves back and forth in the past and present, telling the story of Cheney’s background and upbringing, juxtaposing against his life as a political player.

There is heavy use of flashback, and black and white. Most of the principal actors had to use a lot of make-up and prosthetics to achieve a close resemblance to the people they were portraying.

The story is captivating and there is never a dull moment as you watch and you won’t be aware of how the time flies.

However, I found it difficult to listen to Bale’s character Cheney speak. This is because he was speaking from the side of his mouth, with a Southern drawl and in a very small voice that in some instances almost sounded like he was whispering.

The movie has a rating of R (for language and some violent images).

Generation X will recognise a lot of historical moments in the movie that they can identify with, in terms of events and names of some high profile people involved.

For example, the bombing of the Twin Towers on 9/11, the Iraq War, Sadaam Hussein, Colin Powell, to name but a few.

There are certainly pockets of humour throughout the movie and they are mostly to do with Cheney’s announcement of his impending heart attacks. Sam Rockwell as Bush is perfect.

He is able to capture Bush’s Southern charm and his penchant for jokes and direct talk.


Anyone who grew up in the 1990s (present company included) is aware of the spectacle that was Saddam Hussein. He was portrayed as a ruthless dictator who dealt severely with his enemies. It was alleged that Saddam had the capabilities to launch weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in a matter of minutes.

The movie boldly lays out in great detail the claim that the information on the WMD was fabricated to justify the Iraq War and that there were other more commercial interests in going to war.

As a lover of history both modern and old, I can tell you, my mind was blown. Dick Cheney was power hungry and he was able to have his own way and take advantage of an inexperienced president to achieve his personal ambitions.

Surprisingly, little is known about Dick Cheney except what is in the public domain. The man is a reclusive and thrived on secrets; this certainly helped him win turf wars against his opponents.

There are other fascinating sub-plots that run throughout the movie and help one build up their own perception of Dick Cheney and his motives. A surprising storyline in the movie revolves around same sex relationships. His approach was a surprising one especially given his Southern background that is known for its conservative nature

Vicewill leave you questioning the motives behind some of the big decisions that political leaders take.

Dick Cheney is portrayed as a ruthless politician who did not suffer any challenges to his authority lightly. The consequences of his decisions will be felt for generations to come and the damage wrought by them in some cases both personal and private can never be reversed.


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