Release Year: 2018
Director: Adam McKay
Writer: Adam McKay
Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Alison Pill, Eddie Marsan, Justin Kirk, LisaGay Hamilton, Jesse Plemons, Bill Camp, Lily Rabe, Tyler Perry
Rating: Won 1 Oscar for Best Makeup. Nominated for 7 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Actor (Christian Bale), Best Supporting Actress (Amy Adams), Best Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell). Won 1 Golden Globe: Best Actor – Comedy or Musical (Christian Bale). Nominated for 5 Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress (Amy Adams), Best Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell).
The story of Dick Cheney (Christan Bale) as he goes from bureaucratic Washington insider to President George W. Bush’d powerful vice president who changed history in ways still very much felt today.
Political biopics are pletyfull; the lives of those who wield power is apparently very interesting. Usually they follow a certain mould, but Adam McKay’s (Step Brothers, 2008) take on the genre employs an unusal narrative style which halps to keep us engrossed in a story we already know the outcome of. That is not necessary when dealing with a fascinating personality, but that can hardly be said of Dick Cheney, who was a very shadowy figure and is also deeply disliked by many. That includes McKay, which shows, and is perhaps the film’s biggest drawback. Everything in the film might more or less be true, but the obvious bias leaves at least me sceptical. I am personally more interested in watching a straight forward biopic than a biased satire with an axe to grind. That being said, there are many amendable things about the film. Bale (Ford v Ferrari, 2019) is, as usual, impressive. He captures Cheney’s mannerisms and speech perfectly and yet again shows himself as a master of transformation. Adams (Arrival, 2016) is great as the devoted and equally determined wife, who seems to share his fascination with power. Rockwell (The Way Way Back, 2013) gives the best Bush performance I have seen; not too much, but still recognisable. And yet he manges to capture both Bush determinism, with naivite, uncertainty, breeziness, and charm. And all that in just a few scenes. Recommended, but mostly for fans of political films.
Due to writer-director Adam McKay’s tendency to improvise doing filming, Christan Bale had to do more research for this film than any other. In order to be able to ad-lib his character he had to have Cheney’s mannerism and speech pattern down as well as be aware of what policies he would have been aware of at any given time.
Picture Copyright: SF Studios