Christian Bale’s Highly-Rated Film Called A Mistake By His Former Director

By Michileen Martin | 2 months ago

christian bale

It isn’t often you hear of a Hollywood director dissing his own film, especially not when that film won an Oscar. That’s the word from one of the more acclaimed directors of our times. Adam McKay says that when he directed Christian Bale in the 2018 satire Vice, the director messed up.

To be clear — McKay isn’t saying he messed up by casting Christian Bale or anyone else in the film. Vice enjoyed a stellar cast including Bale incredibly transformed into Vice President Dick Cheney, Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney, Sam Rockwell as President George W. Bush, Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld, Tyler Perry as Colin Powell, and more. No, McKay puts the fault squarely on his own shoulders. In a story published over the weekend, the director told the Sunday Times of the UK (via Deadline) that the blame Vice places for the worst things about the Bush/Cheney administration is too one-sided. “I regret not giving more blame to the Democrats, who went along with the war in Iraq,” McKay said. He added, “I had a heart attack in postproduction. I made mistakes, read the reviews and went, ‘Yes, fair.’”

Through Bale’s Oscar-nominated performance, the black comedy satire Vice unapologetically portrays Dick Cheney as a power-hungry puppeteer, and the chief architect for just about everything that went wrong during his time in power. Reviewers trashed the film for its lack of even-handedness, as well as hitting audiences over the head with its message. Critics like The Atlantic‘s praised the performances of Christian Bale and Amy Adams while going after McKay for handling the subject matter with far too little nuance. Referencing McKay’s other films — particularly his collaborations with Will Ferrell like Step Brothers and the Anchorman series — Orr writes, “Rather than tamp down his inclination toward wackiness… McKay takes it up to 11: His bells are topped with more bells, and his whistles bellow like air horns.”

Christian Bale
Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in Vice (2018)

It’s interesting to note that, like this year’s Don’t Look Up, while Vice was a dartboard for critics it was also a magnet for Oscar nominations. In spite of a fairly unimpressive 65% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Vice was nominated for eight Academy Awards — including acting awards for Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Sam Rockwell — and won for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling. Likewise, Don’t Look Up suffered the dreaded green splat with a 55%, and yet earned 4 nominations including for Best Picture.

Vice marked one of the last films Christian Bale made before taking a break for a few years. After Vice, he starred in the acclaimed 2019 sports drama Ford v Ferrari, and he hasn’t appeared in a major motion picture since. Thankfully, that’s about to change. The former star of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is returning to the world of superheroes, but from the different side — both in terms of the company and in terms of morality. Bale is playing the supervillain Gorr the God Butcher in the upcoming Marvel blockbuster Thor: Love and Thunder. Gorr sees the gods of the galaxy as neglectful criminals, and has dedicated his life to wiping them out. The film is scheduled to hit theaters July 8.