Christian Bale Whips The Dick Out in First ‘Vice’ Trailer

Adam McKay takes aim at one of the most notorious Vice Presidents in American history.
Vice Trailer
Annapurna Pictures
By  · Published on October 3rd, 2018

Hot damn. Break out the buffalo wings, and the ranch dressing. Let’s eat our misery away while Vice bites right back with its lesson detailing the birth of our current political hellscape.

Dick Cheney is coming to George W. Bush’s rescue, and he’s wearing Christian Bale‘s magnificent gut. We’ve been staring at the set-photos for over a year, but now the Secretary of Dark Knight Defense is lumbering in motion. He’s large, in charge, and a mesmerizing marvel to behold.

Sam Rockwell is having fun with his Dubya impression, but Bale means business. He’s here to lead the crusade of director Adam McKay, and their stampede through recent American history is going to be brutal, ugly, and painfully hilarious. Basically, everything you would come to expect from the filmmaker that brought us The Big Short. Strap in; this biopic is gonna get nasty in its humor.

Ah, the halcyon days of 9/11 conspiracies, privatized leadership, and puppet Presidents. Do I actually consider this film a comedy, or am I only laughing because to do anything else would send me straight to a hangman’s noose? Truth is not only stranger than fiction, but it’s also the superior canvas for righteous funny men to slaughter hypocrisy.

Although, you can’t really call Christian Bale a funny man, can you? The actor takes on each role with every fiber of his being. From Batman to dragonslayer to Dick Cheney, Bale is here to inhabit a personality fully. He may have seemed like the least likely performer to transform into the Vice President, but suddenly there he is, strutting his stuff.

Fair and balanced, Adam McKay is not. The one-time head writer of Saturday Night Live leaped from the small screen with the riotously funny Anchorman and stuck to Will Ferrell’s side for his next five films. While Anchorman packed a little commentary on the 24-hour news cycle, and The Other Guys lambasted the fraudulent stockbrokers that birthed our latest economic crisis, McKay’s guns really didn’t blaze until The Big Short.

His adaptation of the Michael Lewis book was populated with famous faces and took advantage of their charm as a means to highlight the atrocities that occurred behind our burst housing bubble. You can throw words like “quirky” and “irreverent” at its direction, but the most magnificent force driving that film was “ANGER.” All caps.

The trailer for Vice doesn’t contain the obvious chuckles of The Big Short, but the rage is on full display. The title says it all. Our respect for positions of power transformed into disgustful shame. Again, the laughter we find here might just be a necessary human reaction. Shots of Dick sliding in and out of various positions within the government cut to “The Man” by The Killers drill into our culpability. The White House is a game show we’re all playing, and we’re all losing… except for the mighty that lives there.

How will the film play in our country? The right will definitely dismiss it as inflammatory and potentially traitorous. The left will cheer it as a virtuous zinger. Will any proper conversation gurgle to the surface? Doubtful.

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)