Director: Adam Mckay Starring: Christian Bale, Sam Rockwell, Amy Adams
From Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump, the leaders of right-wing Republican politics have tended to be fire-breathers (or, in the case of Reagan, a saber rattler who could make snake oil taste like honey). But Dick Cheney broke that mold. Speaking in soft, terse, corporate tones, with the precision squint of someone running a marketing seminar, Cheney was the ultimate stealth power player — the mild-mannered functionary of burn-it-all- down conservatism. No matter how extreme his views (more torture! more fossil fuels! more dismissal of the mainstream media! more war!), he always made it sound reasonable, as if he were discussing not attack- dog politics but facts. When he confronted an interviewer with that wry, avuncular voice and slightly beady glare and spit a phrase like “enhanced interrogation techniques” out the side of his mouth, Cheney, in his everything-is-process staccato way, seemed to be telling it like it was. He was saying: Power is a fact. That’s why the truth is whatever I say it is.
“Vice,” Adam Mckay’s biopic of George W. Bush’s vice president (a man who conventional wisdom, during the 43rd president’s bumbling reign, held to be the de facto control freak behind the throne), is a brashly entertaining movie that’s neither as rich nor as deep as you want it to be. Yet Christian Bale is nothing short of amazing in the title role. He nails the Dick Cheney persona — dry, pointed, deceptively dull, invisibly passive-ag-