Political Biopic On Streaming Exposes The Shocking True Story Of The Presidency

By TeeJay Small | Updated


The modern state of American politics is nearly unrecognizable when compared to the landscape of just a few decades ago. This can largely be credited to landmark moments in American history such as 9/11 and the subsequent invasion of Iraq. One dramatic comedy, 2018’s Vice, follows the thread of the man who singlehandedly shifted the paradigm of American politics, and exposed the true power of an American president.

Dick Cheney


Despite the fact that Dick Cheney was never commander-in-chief himself, he still serves as one of the elite few to wield the power of the president without the title. Cheney served as vice president to the United States during the George W. Bush era, from 2001 through 2009. The film Vice takes a deep dive into Cheney’s early life and political rise, as well as his family life and public controversies, such as shooting a man in a hunting accident in 2006.

Adam McKay

Vice was written and directed by Adam McKay, who previously helmed mostly slapstick comedies such as Anchorman, Step Brothers, and The Other Guys. There was a slight undercurrent of political corruption within the narrative of The Other Guys that began to shift McKay’s thematic focus, prompting him to make the political comedy The Big Short in 2015. Vice maintains McKay’s comedy roots with a few slapstick set-pieces, yet furthers to pipeline of the filmmaker’s clear interest in real-life politics.

The Cast

The film also boasts an impressive ensemble cast, consisting of Amy Adams, Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell, Alison Pill, Jesse Plemons, Tyler Perry, and a nearly unrecognizable Christian Bale as Vice President Dick Cheney. To embody the look of the former vice president, Bale gained over 45 pounds, shaved his head bald, and performed specific exercises to thicken the muscles in his neck. Bale has specifically stated that Vice would be the final film for which he would undergo a massive body change like this, as doing so has been detrimental to his health.

The Movie

Vice opens on Dick Cheney’s early days as a White House intern, after his wife Lynne forces him to clean up his act following an arrest for drunk driving. During his internship with the Nixon administration, Cheney is mentored by Donald Rumsfeld, who eventually goes on to the role of Secretary of Defense, and appoints Cheney to Chief of Staff for his loyalty and political savvy. During this time, Cheney is introduced to the concept of the unitary executive theory, which posits that a sitting president can wield absolute power over the entire federal branch.

Cheney is intrigued by this concept and thirsts for greater political power, though a number of factors prevent him from personally seeking the office of the presidency. Instead, Cheney goes on to join the George W. Bush administration as vice president, under the agreement that he will personally handle a wide array of executive policies while Bush handles the public-facing aspects of the office. This deal results in Cheney enacting a ton of ultra-conservative policies which still impact American politics to this day, including many key choices made in the war on terror.

Stream It Now


Vice opened to positive reviews from critics, and received numerous nominations for Golden Globe and Oscar awards. For those interested in catching the film today, Vice can be streamed via Starz, Apple TV+ with a Starz add-on, or purchased via a number of digital retailers such as Amazon Prime Video and YouTube TV.