Vice Reviews

January 4, 2019
It's been a long time since I enjoyed a movie as much as Adam McKay's Vice while also fully understanding why so many people don't like it. [It's a] stylized, grimly funny Dick Cheney biopic.
January 4, 2019
In theory, there's no reason why this approach shouldn't work -- if the jokes were better and the black comedy was blacker. But McKay isn't really interested in Cheney as anything but a target.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
December 27, 2018
You cannot simply sit and absorb this movie. Love it or hate it, you are one of its characters.
December 26, 2018
In Adam McKay's free-ranging, tone-shifting, darkly funny, super-meta, hit-and-miss, absurdist biopic Vice, Bale nails it as the resilient, backstabbing, front-stabbing, ruthlessly ambitious Cheney.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 26, 2018
Exhilarating but ultimately off-putting... The gleefully scattershot style that gave so much pleasure in The Big Short ill-befits the somber subject of Vice.
December 26, 2018
From the man who brought us "The Big Short" comes "Vice," a movie a lot like "The Big Short" that comes up a little short.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
December 26, 2018
The charismatic star is tasked with playing an uncharismatic man, and at times he succeeds too well; it doesn't help that there's virtually no character development across the 132 minutes of "Vice."
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
December 25, 2018
Growling, gruff, and grumpy Bale makes the title character a lot like his Batman - basically a psychopath-turned-vigilante.
December 25, 2018
It's an ugly story of corruption... And it works, both as a comedy and a scathing indictment of Cheney.
Full Review | Original Score: A
December 24, 2018
It's an irreverent, rollicking story narrated by a guy (Jesse Plemmons) who recounts key episodes from Cheney's life - some amusing, some scary. The tonal shifts in the film are both its blessing and its curse.
December 24, 2018
The film lacks insight, ingenuity, and intensity, skimming the surface of history like a drunk guy at a holiday party who read a Wikipedia entry that he really wants to talk to you about right now.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
December 24, 2018
"Vice" is quite watchable; it zips along quickly, and the cast around chameleon Bale is strong.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 24, 2018
Uses flashes of absurdity and whimsy, along with drama and documented facts, to give us a portrait of a man who quietly accumulated wealth and power while no one else was looking.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
December 23, 2018
Brainy, audacious, opinionated and fun, "Vice" is a tonic for troubled times.
December 21, 2018
The singular achievement of Vice may be its depiction of Cheney as more than a punch line and more than the mwah-hah-hah plotter behind George W.'s "What, me worry?" demeanour.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 21, 2018
Furious, hectoring and condescending...
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
December 20, 2018
There's nothing surprising or especially interesting about Vice.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 20, 2018
Dick Cheney deserves better than this - or worse.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
December 20, 2018
The best advice? Come for the politics, but stay for the performances. They'll make it worth your while.
December 20, 2018
An unyielding and necessary search party on a mission to excavate Cheney's soul. It's both frustrating and fitting that McKay never finds it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 19, 2018
Adam McKay's flamethrowing take on Dick Cheney, played by a shockingly brilliant Christian Bale, polarizes by being ferociously funny one minute, bleakly sorrowful the next, and ready to indict the past in the name of our scarily uncertain future.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
December 19, 2018
Structurally, "Vice" is a mess, zigging here and zagging there, never knowing quite when to end, and when it finally does, leaving few penetrating or genuinely illuminating ideas to ponder.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
December 18, 2018
The material is mostly glib and second-rate-and, when it comes down to it, about as dry, oversimplified, and under-dramatized as a class presentation.
Full Review | Original Score: C
December 18, 2018
It's a character study of a man imbued with a guiding vision of his own greatness that, finally, yields a somewhat scattered, just-OK movie.
December 17, 2018
The ensemble is magnificently rude and amoral, but even better is Vice's thrusting spirit of montage -- daredevil editing that hasn't been attempted since the high-flying heyday of Oliver Stone.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
December 17, 2018
It's a blistering biographical portrait that, one way or another, will provoke a passionate audience reaction.
December 17, 2018
Can someone please put Adam McKay in charge of all the biopics?
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 17, 2018
[A] slick, wildly meta, and occasionally too-clever portrait of the most influential and easily least understood figure to ever hold the nation's second-highest post.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
December 17, 2018
The pace is jaunty, the scenes crackle with gleeful, giddy incredulity, and the dry business of statecraft attains the velocity of farce.
December 17, 2018
Not really a biopic but a two-hour hate-fest that stoops lower than necessary and rarely scores a laugh.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
December 17, 2018
In the end, McKay has more respect for Cheney's wiles, as distasteful as they may be, than he does for his audience.
Top Critic
December 17, 2018
It isn't clear what McKay is trying to accomplish. What are we supposed to take away from the movie that we didn't bring in?
December 17, 2018
Vice is so weighed down with narrative embellishments that its many simpler virtues... get lost in the rococo encrustations.
December 17, 2018
Acknowledging the intense secrecy that continues to surround Cheney, those titles close with the assurance that the filmmakers have "done their f***ing best." Their fucking best turns out to be pretty good, and in the case of Bale, pretty f***ing great.
December 17, 2018
It's a strange little amalgamation that totally works.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 17, 2018
There's much to admire about "Vice," from performances to its sprawling timeline, and yet it often seems trapped between the intentions of a broad liberal parody and more sincere attempts to understand Cheney's essence.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
December 17, 2018
"Vice..." though it pretends to reveal how power works, is ultimately content to remain on the outside, sticking its finger in the eye of power.
December 17, 2018
In an era in which the general public is organizing to confront the White House on multiple issues, this isn't the film we need right now.
December 17, 2018
Through wit, surprise and an irrepressible ballsiness comes a scorching humor that neither curdles nor becomes exhausted.