Adam McKay directs Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Steve Carell in this lacerating biopic of Dick Cheney, the CEO of Halliburton Company and U.S. Vice President.
Like his previous flashy yet distasteful The Big Short, this is all invective and walloping satire with very little grace. Two hours of an audience being hit over the head with “And then this terrible, corrupt thing happened, and you did nothing about it, you fucking dummies!” as if we didn’t know, as if we didn’t care, as if we had some mechanism other than the broken democracy that legitimised the stock market and right wing political profiteering to halt such actions. We did know how self serving and manipulative Dick Cheney and his ilk were. The frustrating thing here is this cinematic prosecution of him is so haphazard and in love with itself you end up having a bit a sympathy and respect for the monotone cunt by the real end credits. Bale, Adams and Sam Rockwell’s solid turns gets lost in the irritating directorial fourth wall breaking shuffle. Only Steve Carrell’s dinosaur Donald Rumsfeld sticks in the memory and keep his head above McKay’s tricks and badgering. McKay’s intentions are admirable, his verve at filmmaking should yield results. Yet he’s too heavy handed and tone deaf for satire, lacking Spike Lee’s visual daring or Billy Wilder’s witty spryness or Stanley Kubrick’s deadpan nihilism or Warren Beatty’s sense of hope.