By Catholic News Service
This biography of former Vice President Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) is a gleeful hatchet job in which he comes off as Machiavellian, black-hearted and more demonic than human. The only figure who emerges in even darker tones is his political mentor, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell), who schemes and cackles like Mephistopheles.
Despite an impressive turn from Amy Adams as Cheney’s forceful wife Lynne, writer-director Adam McKay’s film is so lacking in balance or shading that its main appeal would appear to be the opportunity to hiss at a pair of villains. Considering the history-altering events in which the three main characters were involved, a more nuanced narrative would have served viewers far better.
In addition to the atmosphere of inky-black cynicism that prevails, vulgar language throughout suggests a restrictive classification. Scenes of combat violence, gory and gruesome images, partial nudity, a lesbian theme, several uses of profanity, about a half-dozen milder oaths, frequent rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.