Holiday movie review / ‘Vice’ (M) *** and a half

Christian Bale in the role of Dick Chaney in “Vice”.

“VICE” claims rather more dictionary space than most four-letter words.

In the argot of US politics, one (there are numerous others) meaning of “vice” is the person who has run for election with the incumbent president and who will succeed him should he die or otherwise be unable to perform.

George W Bush was the president on whose coat tails Richard Bruce Chaney, commonly called Dick, rose to the second-highest office in the land. Dick was and is a conservative, chosen by George W to make a good team for that political stream. Supporters of progressive politicians and people living in countries already feeling the lash of climate change have good reason to loathe Dick’s legacy.

I wonder whether anybody will make a movie about the current US president. Writer/director Adam McKay cast Sam Rockwell as George W Bush. Finding an actor willing to play D. Trump may not be so simple.

Playing Dick, Christian Bale fulfills McKay’s expectations of him and then some.

Is “Vice” worth seeing? I found it intensely so. It evoked memories from Pol. Science 1 all those years ago explaining the actual environment that it portrays. On December 27 when it opened in Australia, US news network personality Miles Howard summed up McKay’s film soberly, perhaps cynically, certainly with heart on sleeve: “Not just a Cheney biopic… ‘Vice’ is a two-hour evisceration of America’s political system – a system that allowed Cheney to metastasise from an observant power-hungry DC intern into a monstrous politician who destroyed Iraq so America could broker access to its oilfields… guiding us into the White House, the Pentagon, and the manicured estates where politicians sip Coors and go fly fishing… takes us into fetid rooms where Iraqi and Afghan civilians are being tortured to fulfill the blood-soaked foreign policies that Cheney and his Ivy League-educated accomplices inflicted upon the world… American audiences are not ready for how devastating this movie is.”

Australian audiences can enjoy “Vice” at leisure and perhaps give thanks that our parliamentary system and Constitution in their present forms don’t allow that kind of thing to happen here. Or can it?

At all cinemas

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