McCann At The Movies: McKay Pulls No Punches In ‘Vice’

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John McCann says there are terrific actors on top form in Adam McKay’s ‘Vice’…

Director Adam McKay rested his comedic chops in 2015, and changed artistic direction with his critically acclaimed feature ‘The Big Short’, which saw the director explain the financial crash of 2008 in his own unique way to great effect.

In this week’s Tralee Omniplex-featured film, ‘Vice’, McKay again embraces that unique style that worked so well in ‘The Big Short’, to tell the tale of former vice president, Dick Cheney, in a film that has been featuring strongly in award nominations over recent weeks.

‘Vice’ explores the epic story about how a political Washington insider quietly became the most powerful man in the world as Vice-President to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today.

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A lot has been made of Christian Bale’s physical transformation for this film, with the actor gaining 40lbs to take the title role of Dick Cheney in this production.

What is also evident, however, is the strength and understated brilliance of his portrayal of the former VP.

Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in ‘Vice’.

Golden Globes and BAFTA nominations for Bale are all well deserved in a role that sees the Welsh man also instilled as the bookies favourite for Best Actor Award in this month’s Academy Awards.

Credit too must go to Amy Adams (also Oscar-nominated) in her role as Cheney’s driving-force wife Lynn, Steve Carrell as Donald Rumsfeld, and Sam Rockwell who plays George W. Bush to perfection.

The film itself is an entertaining yet at times chaotic look at the life of this infamous political figure.

As in ‘The Big Short’, some of McKay’s wacky plot devices work quite well and others simply don’t and his opinions on the life, times and methods of the former VP are about as subtle as a lorry-load of bricks and this may seem tiresome to some audience members.

On the other hand, it does make for entertaining cinema and for all the criticism that may be levelled at this film, boredom can not be one of them!

McKay’s uniqueness for the art of storytelling can also be refreshing, especially when supported by some terrific actors on top form.

Even though McKay could have toned down the volume a little bit, nonetheless, Vice is another solid and commendable effort on his part, and one that is a gentle reminder for those of us who lament the days of pre-Donald, previous US administrations and their puppet masters weren’t much to write home about either!


• For more of John McCann’s movie reviews, check out his Facebook page here and website here

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