As the film opens, we see Cheney's less than impressive beginnings as he is arrested for DUI after being kicked out of Yale. He cleans up his act after his wife Lynne (Amy Adams; Arrival) threatens to leave him and eventually lands as a Congressional intern under William A Steiger but ends up working with White House Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell; The Office). Over time, with Rumsfeld's tutelage, Cheney becomes very politically savvy and works his way through Washington jobs including United States Secretary of Defense and a Congressman from Wyoming.
After giving up aspirations of becoming President himself, Cheney left Washington and took a job in the private sector at Halliburton. When Bush asked him to be his running mate, Cheney was hesitant but after brokering a deal that would afford Cheney more power than previous Vice Presidents had, he agreed. It was this flagrant use of power that was evident on 9/11 and that permeated Bush's two terms in office. His lack of transparency was also very contentious and begged some to question his motives. Cheney did not seek the presidential nomination in 2008, thus ending his political career.
McKay wrote and directed a terrific script and assembled a superb cast. The pacing and flow of the film make you forget it is over two hours long and the use of the disjointed timeline actually works well here. Bale is Cheney, plainly stated. Between his portrayal and the makeup, you genuinely feel you are watching Dick Cheney. Adams is a force to be reckoned with in this role and she plays Lynne as an intelligent and powerful woman. Carell also is outstanding as is Allison Pill (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) and Lily Rabe (Miss Stevens) as Cheney's daughters, Mary and Liz respectively.
The 1080p resolution and 2.39:1 aspect ratio are terrific and offer strong picture quality. The colors aren't muted in any way and the details are sharp. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is a solid transfer with a nice balance between dialogue and ambient noise. The combo pack includes the Blu-ray, DVD and a digital download code. The extras are on the Blu-ray and include Deleted Scenes, Gaming the System: The Making of Vice, The Music of Power (a deleted musical number explaining how Washington works), Gallery and Theatrical Trailer. I can understand why the song was cut but it was cute nonetheless and worthy of watching.
There is a reason Vice was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won for best achievement in makeup and hairstyling. It is a well-told and interesting story and includes a terrific and accomplished cast who are made up and dressed magnificently. The story offers some insight into a secretive human being as well as the inner workings of a rather corrupt political system but is enjoyable and entertaining while evoking feelings of angry all at the same time.
While not the most flattering portrayal of the former Vice President, it does portray him as a powerful leader who did what he felt was necessary.