I think this would be my pick for best picture. This film blew me away. There are so many original and genius storytelling decisions in here. I think it will be a very influential film and while I think the academy will pick “A Star is Born” for best picture, I think time will look favorably on Vice as the best movie to come out this year (aside from Hereditary of course). There wasn’t a flat performance in this film, I could write this whole review about Bales portrayal of Cheney but I’m sure there’s enough praise out there.
You can really see McKay’s sketch background at work here. There are so many confident, self-contained sequences that are genius. The monstrous balls to do one of these sequences in a biopic would’ve been impressive, but there are like 10 of these moments here. The Shakespearean monologues, fly fishing cutaways, Jesse Plemons entire character, Alfred Molina taking depraved and immoral orders on a dinner menu, the fake end credits, the fourth wall break, I could go on. ALL of these moments had me nearly applauding in the theatre. Even if I didn’t agree with the sentiment of the character, or the accuracy of the information. His films showcase such an original vision; taking this high paced, stylistically edited, infographic, docustyle, sketch drama and applying it to the least sexy subject matter known to man. I feel like at this point he could make a film about amended agriculture regulations a fun watch.
I see so much backlash on this film being defined by the viewers preconceived political biases, which is fine. That’s something that’s expected when you make a film with a point of view, about a politician, in one of the most politically divided countries in the world. I do hope that with time, however embellished they feel some moments were, people will appreciate the deviation from conventional storytelling techniques. Time after time this movie could have settled for an expository scene, or just settled for a 2-shot conversation scene, or taken the easy way out, but time after time they went with the craziest, boldest, most original, hardest to pull off, way to convey feeling or information. THAT is what had me hooked, not the historical accuracy of Lynne Cheney’s home life. Accurate or not the reveals were all earned in the context of this story and the dispersal of information was masterful. The editing felt very thought out and intentional, keeping the pace up, while also letting the shot linger for you to really regard a concept he was trying to impart. I look forward to watching it again.