Vice is an intense, dark, and funny film. The protagonist is the infamously vader-like Dick Cheney. He exemplifies the darkest parts of the American psyche — the fear, the corruption, and the violence of Dick Cheney’s life are all exposed in the film. He has a massive fear of failure to himself and his wife. He has paranoia from the various reports of threats to the United States by intelligence agencies. He has shady dealings with energy executives, with the implication that Iraq was divvied up pre-war into possible holdings for various energy companies. He will say what he needs to win a congressional race, even if it hurts his daughter. His obsession with power leads him to enhance the power of the executive, and take some of that power himself as the vice president.
In a lot of ways, he is not very different from the rest of us. He cares about what matters most. He does what he needs to do to provide for his family. We all deal with corruption in business and government on a daily basis, and most of us don’t mind greasing the wheels as long as there is a little slice in it for ourselves. Paranoia is common amongst us as well — fear of losing our jobs, big government, little government, corporations and politicians, muslims and migrants, nuclear war, fear of terrorism or a mass shooting, fear of our neighbors, and fear of God. If Cheney teaches us anything, the higher up you can get, and the more power you have, fear never goes away. It intensifies. He also teaches us that perhaps there is a ceiling to constitutional interpretation. Most people don’t even know the extent to which that document has been spread and stretched. Something to keep in mind when somebody in the opposite party is given reins of power. Maybe it’s time to reign in the power of the executive and place more pressure on our embattled representatives. Otherwise, representatives don’t seem to care too much what goes on in the office over from them.