Monday, December 31, 2018

Conflicted

Christian Bale is terrific as Dick Cheney in Vice. He completely disappears into the role. You forget that you're watching the actor who was once Batman and the sad/bad brother in The Fighter. He's got the voice, the minimal hand gestures, the stillness that can seem avuncular and/or deliberative.

Amy Adams is also good (isn't she always?) as Lynne Cheney. As an old-school feminist, I've always found Mrs. Cheney's public persona appalling, and this movie does nothing to change that.

Which is rather the problem I had with it.

Vice presents Cheney as evil. Non-ideological, power hungry, malevolent. Except for loving his lesbian daughter -- and he lets her down in the third act -- he is completely without redeeming qualities. In that way, the screenplay lets Bale down. He is valiantly trying to play Snidely Whiplash as a three-dimensional person.

Also, the movie makes the staggering assertion that Lynne Cheney's father murdered her mother. Or, to be precise, that Lynne and Dick Cheney believe that her father murdered her mother. I've done some internet searches and can find nothing to back this up.

The movie is obviously a cautionary tale for the Age of Trump. I get it. If you are even a casual reader of this blog, you know where my heart and my politics are in these matters.

But I worry about history. I've seen enough movies and miniseries about the Kennedys to know how myths can take hold ... and sully and obscure the truth.

So despite the performances, I'm sorry I paid to see Vice.




1 comment:

  1. Two other people of different political persuasions have also not been thrilled by this--although they said the acting is great.

    ReplyDelete

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