One Star for the Oversimplified, Condescending Vice

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One Star for the Oversimplified, Condescending Vice

Mira Venkatesh, Author

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This holiday season was chock full of sensational movies, from the cleverly written Green Book to the historical drama Mary, Queen of Scots. All trends have to be broken, however, and Adam McKay’s Vice sure ruined this pattern of artful movies. Vice is a movie that will truly make you want your money back for a series of atrocious artistic decisions exhibited throughout this cinematic calamity.

McKay somehow managed to combine an overly simplified, borderline lazy script with abstract film footage to attempt symbolism. The actual result? A distasteful mess. Surprisingly, Dick Cheney was not the most atrocious aspect of this 2018 disaster.

In the film, McKay layered home movie footage of his family, clips of random jungle animals, an unprofessional narrator dialogue, recordings of a man in overalls fishing, and video of live surgery. Even the overly dramatic music played during an elongated clip of open-heart surgery failed to engage; the only one whose heart was racing during that was Dick Cheney’s.

As if a condescending script paired with overly edgy imagery weren’t enough, the unprofessionalism continued with McKay highlighting his own relationship to Cheney, sharing his personal experience with war, and including several clips of himself throughout the film. Although I assume this was meant for comedic value, McKay came off as that guy you went to high school with who thought he was funny… but nobody else did.

In his final after-credit scene, McKay addresses potential audience criticism through the a staged focus group, which pops up throughout the film. The actors in the focus group use language such as “libtard,” they crudely illustrate the polarization of our society, and they insult the younger audience members’ presumed disengagement.

If younger audience members are disengaged, or if conservatives or anyone criticizes the liberal bias, as suggested by the closing scene, they would be completely justified. After condemning the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, McKay manages to one-sidedly attack Republicans, Cheney, the Bush family, and general government function in this clearly misguided film. Denouncing the actions of Cheney and the administrations he worked under would not have been difficult even if all the facts were provided, but McKay managed to leave many out, polluting his script with over-simplification and profanity as if to suggest a moronic audience, and neglecting some of the most damning events of Cheney’s career, such as the Halliburton conspiracies. And if that weren’t enough, McKay also managed to be hypocritical and unengaging throughout his trainwreck of a movie.

‘Tis the season for a one-star rating.

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