Yesterday, after having already seen The Favourite, we decided to keep going down the Oscar nominees list — and watch Vice. I wanted to watch it months ago — it was playing in theaters when we were in New York for new year’s, but we didn’t have the time then, between all our walks across the Brooklyn bridge. And it only opened in France this week, for some nonsensical reason. Anyway, we did (finally) have a chance to watch it… and it’s vicious.
Created by the same team that came up with The big short a couple of years ago — that would be Adam McKay directing, Christian Bale starring and Brad Pitt producing, otherwise known as the all-star team — it was bound to be good. Not just that: the story is one insane political episode in American history, close enough that we all sort of remember, but far enough that we can start understanding its logic — and evaluating its consequences. All the way to the current occupant of the White House, if you catch my (rather obvious) drift).
The film is indeed good, opting for an interesting visual and structural take on this sadly notorious moment (and man), mixing humour and deadly serious facts to show how a man who was essentially elected as a bystander became the de facto leader of the free world. You know, good ol’ fashioned first rate democracy at work here. And Christian Bale, who piled on dozens of pounds to get “into” the role (as if that would be an effort) is amazing as Dick Cheney, as was to be expected.
The only downside, if compared to The big short, is that the story is perhaps too well known. What was interesting about the former was the way it detailed the intricacies of the financial world — and the way it destroyed the world’s economy for the better part of a decade — in a way we didn’t quite know before (at least I didn’t). Whereas America’s answer to 9/11 and the Bush/Cheney duet of the early 00’s is somewhat more common knowledge. And somewhat more understandable to the layman (at least to yours truly): the whole WMD story is now taught in schools as textbook fake news.
Which is perhaps a statement as to how much more dangerous finance is than politics because of its lack of clarity. Or that we’re just, slowly, getting wiser. I sure hope it’s the latter.