Written & Directed By: Adam McKay
Cinematography: Greig Fraser
Editor: Hank Corwin
Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Jesse Plemmons, Alison Pill, Tyler Perry, Eddie Marsan, Justin Kirk, LisaGay Hamilton, Bill Camp, Lilly Rabe, Stephen Aldy Gurgis, Shea Whigham
The story of Dick Cheney, an unassuming bureaucratic Washington insider, who quietly wielded immense power as Vice President to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today.
The film is essentially about Man of mystery. Who seems to work in the shadows. The film Tries to expose what information there is about him. The film tends to offer insight but still nothing that is too shocking. As throughout it tries to find what motivates him and the only answer it truly comes up with is absolute power. He is always thinking ahead in a situation overcoming emotions and absent of any feelings.
Not your average everyday bio-film. It’s a comedy that isn’t that funny as much as sad no matter how it is presented.
Compared with Oliver Stone’s movie W. which was a film that took a look at government and it’s Officials. Which came out more at the same time as what was happening politically. Though that film had it’s strengths it also felt the equivalent of a television movie not In quality, but in the based on a true story with an all star cast kind of way and wonder. That film didn’t really reveal too much that we didn’t know. So it just felt like almost like a skit just reiterating and tracing the rise of George Bush Jr. This film tries to fill in the blanks and reveal more information to the public. Never quite condemning it’s Subject but not exactly making him a hero either.
This film while wild is never operatic or as over the top and bombastic. It states it case but doesn’t yell it’s message and information at you constantly. It’s not about shocking you with each revelation.
This film isn’t that similar but it feels like it can be in the same category. Just as the person the film is about the film is flawed. It’s over ambitious and experimental which is respectful as the film tries to have fun with the material and the structure of films such as these. Unfortunately as the film. Goes along it gets less and less funny due to the material as this really happened and gets depressing as it gets serious. Though whether this is on purpose or not is up for the audience to decide.
The film tries many different ways to kind of throw the audience off and entertain. An anonymous narrator. Who we see every now and then affected by Dick Cheyney’s decision and let’s us know that in some way they are connected and we co to pushy wonder how or once shown is this it? Ultimately it pays off. Just as the film offers a kind of fake ending in the middle that is more a result of If he hadn’t made a certain decision that later defined his life.
One can give the film credit for having this challenging worldview and style. Which seeks to be the opposite of it’s Subject who is usually boring or on the level and seems stuck.
Overall after awhile the film begins to feel Overstuffed with stars and material. It starts to come across as an over ambitious report on a person where it feels like they want to inform so much that it ends up trampling over some i for and scenes they need to be fully felt before moving onto something else
The running theme of the Heart attacks seems to be more a comedic go to throughout. Often undercutting a basic scene and easing it towards something more comedic. Especially in the non-chalant way he reacts to them.
If the film was structured a bit stronger though keeping with the more rebellious ideas and presentation. the film would make a stronger impact. As there are some great scenes that feel run over and rushed.
There are Other great ideas that are out there for dramatic tension and a little bit of humor. that feel like they fall flat or are not done to the greatest strengths that they could have been.
The film has Great performances. It also it feels like stunt casting for some that weren’t exactly needed to necessarily have a recognizable name to play.
Writer director Adam McKay’s last film was THE BIG SHORT they similarly took on politics and how it was affecting the country. This film is like his last film where everything needs to be explained. As here it’s not that confusing but not necessarily exciting. As I am sure there was more material that could have been introduced about the connections that dick Cheney has throughout the government and certain issues that affected the world. here the film tries to lay or introduce how certain acts form the past helped his future and sold out the country to a degree. Not to mention the ways in which it affected the world.
The cast shines and the script is tight, but the film seems to give more information that is fascinating. where as the drama comes off more as re-enactment to go with these points.
Christian Bale gives a good performance that is strong but it also feels more like an impression than a performance at times. Where as more towards the end is where he really starts to make his mark especially his monologue to the camera
As what is fascinating g dramatically is the fact that here is such a powerful character and often he is the quietest person in the room and seems at times to know-tow to his wife and family when it comes to decision making but is also ruthless when he feels slighted
Nothing seems to be able to grab hold. Because the information keeps piling up so much and so fast that it is hard on individual scenes for any to truly stand out. As we watch we keep getting fed so much with no time to digest that it keeps sticking but never moves and we don’t react almost desensitized to it all until it is over.
As the movie goes along and more prosthetics are used we literally watch as the actors morph and grow into their roles. Which is an interesting aspect when it works. Rebelious in It’s message playing with the narrative for entertainment and upend the usual methods of presentation of not only story but also life.
A dramatization led info dump after a while with vivid scenes and quite a speedy flow. That while it tries to give you all this information about it’s subject and his deeds. It begins to turn a bit deaf to the audience and seems to almost go ranting. Leaving them looking stranded as billed as a comedy and has some laughs with structure but never quite cohesive enough to fully be engaged as a drama as it jumps around with leisure.