By: Lisa M. Hayes – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
The political landscape of our nation has gotten so foul that many on the left secretly long for the simpler days when George Walker Bush was president. He’s such a nice guy now. He almost seems innocent with his Texas charm. George W. shares cough drops with Michelle Obama at funerals and such. The former president who started the longest war in our nation’s history and found a loophole not to call it a war, has slipped into retirement painting portraits of the veterans he sent to fight – and somehow now he seems like less of a monster.
Vice leaves us with the perpetually nagging questions we all had during his Presidency: Was George Bush Jr. the monster or was he a hapless bumbling idiot? Was he ever even president at all or was Cheney running the oval almost entirely, the entire time?
Vice has gotten butchered by critics for everything from makeup to a monochromatic performance of Dick Cheney by Christian Bale. I will say, it’s not particularly pleasant to watch and if I wasn’t interested in the politics I wouldn’t have enjoyed it. However, I am interested in politics and while I didn’t learn much more than I already knew, there was one incredibly sad moment that left me breathless with shock and countless moments that left me seething.
Believe it or not, there is a trigger warning for on this movie. If I were an Iraq war vet or a family member of that war, I would think hard before going.
Vice paints clearly illustrate how that conflict was manufactured behind closed doors by power-mongering politicians who had an eye on geopolitical financial gain and dominance.
If I was a vet, I might find myself very triggered by some of the content. There is also a sub-plot in the storyline that might be particularly unsettling to a veteran of that war, which I’m not going to share because it’s revealed in the one truly shocking moment of the movie.
Unfortunately, none of the rest of it is shocking. We know the story. We’ve lived that history and history has not been kind to Dick Cheney. He isn’t likable enough for sweet moments in the public eye with Michele to rehab his image. George W always was kind of likable in that good old boy sort of way – which is exactly what got us in real life where the movie takes us.
Notably, the movie deals with some political doctrine that is shockingly and terrifyingly relevant today. Vice spends a lot of time unraveling the theory of the Unitary Executive, which essentially means, if the President does it, it can’t be illegal and gives the President near dictator like authority. It’s unsettling to watch the unraveling of our constitution in real time by politicians bent on having unwavering power knowing now how truly dangerous that can be given where we are now.
The film attempts to humanize a monster by portraying Cheney as a flawed and fragile family man, a good husband and father. It incorporates the story of Lynn Cheney and how influential she was in the trajectory of his career. It more than touches on the fact that one of his daughters is openly gay and what that meant for his career.
And through all of it, maybe the acting was flat, or the makeup wasn’t on point, or the storyline was choppy like the critics have said. However, I left that movie shaken and unsettled because it reminded me that wasn’t that long ago. Nearly a million people, including 600,000/700,000 Iraqi civilians died in a war that was started by George W. Bush and orchestrated by Dick Cheney. Both history and this movie clearly illustrate it was a sham.
Near the end of the movie, when they show Obama being sworn into office, it reminded me this happened not that long ago. I am also reminded that the last Republican administration we had was just as corrupt as the one we’re currently enduring – maybe it wasn’t quite as off the rails, because at least the madman in charge, wasn’t truly mad, he was simply indisputably morally bankrupt and corrupt.
Almost all the political junkies out there have already seen Vice. So, if you haven’t gone, it can most certainly wait until it comes out on video. This is not a movie with the kind of big-screen special effects you need to see in the theater. However, when it does come out on video, I recommend seeing it because this movie reminds us how quickly things become history and how long history can haunt us by changing the course of a nation and impacting literally more lives than we can count.
Vice will not win any awards which seems apropos for the story of how a man came into the ultimate power without winning it leaving us all losing in the rubble of extreme abuse of that power.
*** Correction: Congratulations to Christian Bale for winning the Golden Globe for Best Actor.
More by Lisa:
Lindsey Graham: We’ve turned a hard corner in the right direction and it was easy to miss
Lisa M. Hayes, Senior Editor of Confluence Daily.
Confluence Daily is the one place where everything comes together. The one-stop for daily news for women.