Vice is a 2018 American biographical political satire black comedy-drama film directed, written, and co-produced by Adam McKay and starring Christian Bale as former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, with Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Justin Kirk, Tyler Perry, Alison Pill, Lily Rabe, and Jesse Plemons in supporting roles. The film follows Cheney on his path to becoming the most powerful vice president in American history. It is the second theatrical film to depict the presidency of George W. Bush, following Oliver Stone's W. (2008).
Vice was released in the United States on December 25, 2018, by Annapurna Pictures, and grossed $76 million worldwide. While the performances were universally acclaimed, the film polarized critics; some considered it to be one of the best films of the year while others thought it to be one of the worst, with McKay's screenplay and direction receiving both "scathing critiques and celebratory praise". The film received numerous accolades, with eight nominations at the Oscars, including for Best Picture, winning Best Make-Up and Hairstyling. It also received six nominations each from the Golden Globes (including for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy) and the BAFTAs. For their performances, Bale, Adams, and Rockwell were nominated at all three shows, with Bale winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
Plot - In 1963, Dick Cheney works as a lineman in Wyoming after his alcoholism led him to drop out of Yale University. After Cheney is stopped by a traffic cop for driving while intoxicated, his wife Lynne Cheney tells him to clean up his life or she'll leave him.
In 1969, Cheney finds work as a White House intern during the Nixon Administration. Working under Nixon's economic adviser, Donald Rumsfeld, Cheney becomes a savvy political operative as he juggles commitments to his wife and their daughters, Liz and Mary. Cheney overhears Henry Kissinger discussing the secret bombing of Cambodia with President Richard Nixon, revealing the true power of the executive branch to Cheney. Rumsfeld's abrasive attitude leads to him and Cheney being distanced from Nixon, which works in both men's favor; after Nixon's resignation, Cheney rises to the position of White House Chief of Staff for President Gerald Ford while Rumsfeld becomes Secretary of Defense. The media later dubs the sudden shake-up in the cabinet as the Halloween Massacre. During his tenure, a young Antonin Scalia introduces Cheney to the unitary executive theory.
After Ford loses the election, Cheney runs to be representative for Wyoming. After giving an awkward and uncharismatic campaign speech, Cheney suffers his first heart attack. While he recovers, Lynne campaigns on her husband's behalf, helping him to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. During the Reagan Administration, Cheney supports a raft of conservative, pro-business policies favoring the fossil fuel industries, as well as the abolition of the FCC fairness doctrine, which led to the rise of Fox News, conservative talk radio, and the increasing level of party polarization in the United States. Cheney next serves as Secretary of Defense under President George H. W. Bush during the Gulf War. Outside of politics, Cheney and Lynne come to terms with their younger daughter, Mary, coming out as a lesbian. Though Cheney develops ambitions to run for president, he decides to retire from public life to spare Mary from media scrutiny.
Cheney becomes the CEO of Halliburton while his wife breeds golden retrievers and writes books. A false epilogue claims that Cheney lived the rest of his life healthy and happy in the private sector and credits begin rolling, only for them to end abruptly as the film continues.
Cheney is invited to become the running mate of George W. Bush in the 2000 United States presidential election. Under the impression that Bush is more interested in pleasing his father than attaining power for himself, Cheney agrees on the condition that Bush delegates executive responsibilities to him and avoids getting him involved in the Republican Party's stance against gay rights. As vice president, Cheney works with Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, legal counsel David Addington, Mary Matalin, and Chief of Staff Scooter Libby to exercise control of key foreign policy and defense decisions.
In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Cheney and Rumsfeld maneuvered to initiate and preside over the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Various other events from his vice presidency are depicted, including his endorsement of the unitary executive theory, the Plame affair, the accidental shooting of Harry Whittington, and tensions between the Cheney sisters over same-sex marriage. Cheney's actions are shown to lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths and the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq, resulting in him receiving record-low approval ratings by the end of the Bush administration.
While narrating Cheney's tearful deathbed goodbye to his family after another hospitalization, Kurt dies in a road traffic incident while jogging. In March 2012, his healthy heart is transplanted into Cheney. A few months later, Cheney accepts his daughter Liz's opposition to same-sex marriage, which she expresses when she runs for a Senate seat in Wyoming; this upsets Mary. Liz later wins election to her father's former Congressional position. At the end of the film, an irate Cheney breaks the fourth wall and delivers a monologue to the audience, asking them "which terror attack would you allow to go unchecked so you don't look like a mean and nasty fella", admits he's not perfect, states that he has no regrets about anything he has done in his career and concludes by thanking the audience for giving him the powers to transform the vice-presidency.
In a mid-credit scene, a focus group depicted earlier in the movie gets into another argument about the efficacy of the film and the Presidency of Donald Trump, whereas some members of the group are uninterested and would rather do something other than politics.