By Marco Cretella | @mbcretella
Sub-edited by Jasmine Wing
Christian Bale announced “I’d like to thank Satan, for bringing me inspiration, on how to play this role” after adding the Best Actor at the Golden Globes to his growing basket of Awards. He’d already scooped up the US Critic’s Choice and British Film Academy Best Actor for his portrayal of former Vice-President Dick Cheney in the film “Vice” (Plan B entertainment, 2018).
His comments infuriated the Christian Right when the ‘Official’ Church of Satan asked it’s followers to ‘Hail Christian!’ on Twitter, and Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz was enamoured neither by the comments or the film and made reference to Bale’s previous conviction for assault. Welsh actor Bale countered that while his actions were regrettable they hardly compared to the chaos caused by the invasion of Iraq, masterminded by her father!
What makes Bales performance so great is almost the opposite of bringing a character to life. Cheney is a man so monosyllabic, monotone and mumbling he’s rarely heard much less understood!
“Vice” is the second ‘serious’ film by ‘Anchorman’ director Adam McKay, following 2015’s “The Big Short”. That film asks what happens when the Government deregulates the Banks, “Vice” asks what happens when the Government deregulates Everything!
The film opens on the morning of September 11th, 2001, at the moment a second plane hits the World Trade Centre. 20 minutes earlier a plane had hit the 1368 feet high Tower 1 building of the famous Twin Towers, then the tallest buildings in the world, and it had been considered an accident. When another plane, hits the other Tower, live on TV, millions of people, watching the Breaking News worldwide, simultaneously realised the planes were being flown into the buildings on purpose. This caused a collective panic, people hardly knew what to think, let alone, what to do. All except one man, who saw an opportunity.
With this line, “Vice” shows over the next 2 hours, how Cheney manipulated the Emergency Privilege given to the Bush Administration after the terrorist attacks, to invade, Afghanistan then Iraq, spy on the American people, give tax breaks and handouts to the mega-rich, deregulate America’s Corporate Structures, render suspected terrorists to be tortured and thoroughly enrich his own Oil Company, Halliburton.
The film has great supporting roles by Steve Carrell as Donald Rumsfeld, Sam Rockwell as President George W Bush and Amy McDonald, who, quite rightly, has awards and nominations of her own, for her role as Dick Cheney’s wife Lynne.
Underneath Bale’s throwaway Satan comments, maybe another truth: Inspiration to bring such a callous creature to life, must have come from a dark place, maybe even the Dark Lord Himself. The awful events of September 11th, 2001 turned out to be just the warm-up for what was to come, the death of 100s of thousands of civilians, the destabilization of the Middle East, Isis and the Global Recession. The architect of it all, and who knows where he takes his inspiration from, we now know, was Dick Cheney.