NOTE: This review contains MILD spoilers.
One of my good friends/nabes (along w/ her old college pal) had tickets to this new film at AFI on Christmas; I joined them b/c was VERY curious to know more re: Dick Cheney. Also, I don’t think I’ve seen anything by the director- Adam McKay- who has worked w/ BOTH Bale and Carell in The Big Short (need to check it out on Netflix). McKay’s directing style is NOT very subtle! There are touches of humor though, BUT don’t expect a multi-layered biopic of Cheney. Also, don’t expect to root for anyone here (IF that’s what you usually look for at the movies). McKay is uber-liberal and doesn’t care who knows it; in fact, there is a mid-credits scene that explains this (my friend LOVED that). If you’re also liberal, keep up w/ the news, and LOVE Bale- this film is for you. Otherwise, you can watch it out later (NOT necessarily on the big screen).
Bale (one of my faves since Little Women) is completely transformed- weight (he gained about 40 lbs), hair, posture, and voice! He really commands the screen w/o saying TOO much or making many gestures. Amy Adams (as usual) does a fine job; I learned new things re: Lynn also, NOT just the former VP. Bale and Adams have great chemistry, so make a believable long-term couple. There is even a brief Shakespearean scene. Is it over the top and unexpected? Yes, BUT I (along w/ a few others in my small audience) were amused by it.
Speaking of screen presence, Steve Carell is getting better and better w/ age; he does a great job as the tough-talking/scheming political animal- Donald Rumsfeld. Did you know that Rummy was a mentor to Cheney starting from when he was an eager-to-please young intern? I was surprised by this, as well as their (evolving) relationship over the decades. Dubya is played (for laughs) by Sam Rockwell; he’s NOT one of my faves, BUT does OK w/ what he has been given. He does get Dubya’s facial expressions and confusion right. Just HOW MUCH power did Cheney have as VP? You MAY be shocked (or NOT) to find out!