By Gayle Plummer
Rated R, Drama/History
On the plus side of this movie, the portrayal of Dick Cheney by Christian Bale was beyond perfection. He absolutely is Cheney: the slanted grin, the look from the eyes, the voice, the attitude, the body language and the weight gain. Of course, he is known for his total body transformations to bring home a role. In this movie he gained a whopping 40 pounds. He is absolutely amazing, and he totally deserved to take home the Golden Globe on this one. The supporting actors also did a super job – given what they had to work with . . . but more on that later. They all totally hit the mark in delivering their performances. I enjoyed watching the transformation of these actors, and for me the movie flew by, as I love watching actors who have polished and honed their craft to become someone else. I highly recommend the movie as an entertainment piece.
Let me address all the controversy about this film. There’s lots of buzz out there about this movie not being accurate; about the director not doing any fact checking. Absolutely everywhere you search, someone is complaining about this movie not being historically correct. Well, I have questions to ask these same folks: What part of movie making don’t you understand? What part of artistic license don’t you understand? What part of the term biopic movie don’t you understand? For me, all of the critics are too wound up in the reality aspect to enjoy the entertainment aspect. Many biopic movies stretch the truth because they are trying to entertain while delivering the essence of the people involved. Not to get too heavy here but, Princeton political historian, Julian Zelizer said, “. . . the artists, through fictional films, have the potential to convey things about our history that can’t be done with just a straight, factual-based sequence. It can still capture the essence of a political leader in a way that historians can’t.”
While I clearly don’t have an issue with whether or not the film is accurate, I do have an issue with the approach that writer/director Adam McKay took in the format he chose here. For me there was way too much narration, which got in the way of the movie itself; and the time span he tried to cover was too broad. The content was like a pebble skipping along the surface of a huge, deep lake but never going below the surface, just darting along the top. I feel that if he had zeroed in on a few events and/or a shorter timeframe, instead of touching on so many political events, this movie would have carried more weight and depth to it. This would have allowed all the actors to truly deliver some real meat to their performance, not just Bale. However, they all did do a fantastic job – with what they were given to work with! Therefore, for me, Sam Rockwell, Amy Adams and Steve Corell did justice to this movie.
I repeat, I recommend it as an entertainment piece – which is what it is meant to be . . . that’s Hollywood!