According to Jesus, Satan is "a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44c). It is quite appropriate, then, that actor Christian Bale thanked Satan after winning a Golden Globes award for best actor in his portrayal of former Vice President Dick Cheney in the comedy-drama Vice, since the movie's portrayal of Cheney is based more on falsehoods than on truth.
Film critic Michael Medved had this to say about the movie in a radio commentary aired January 10th: "Vice is an inept, incoherent dud that portrays its subject as a one-dimensional, diabolical monster, ignoring a real-life record of achievement as White House chief of staff, five-term Congressman, defense secretary and two-term vice president."
He continued, "The obsession with demonizing conservatives produced this misbegotten mess, smearing a patriotic public servant who retired a decade ago and going so far as to suggest that he didn't deserve the heart transplant he received in 2011."
This, then, begs the question: Why make the movie now? What has Cheney done to deserve this? What on earth would inspire this?
Medved writes, "By classifying this pitch-dark film as a 'comedy' its producers cheerfully shrug off any sense of historical or artistic responsibility and, as Bale darkly suggests, serve Satan."
Ironically, the movie claims to be fact-based. Or, kind-of fact-based.
As noted by Kyle Smith on National Review, "The initial warning is given before Vice even starts, in an onscreen note: It's a 'true story, we're told. But it's hard to be strictly factually accurate, the note adds, because Dick Cheney is such a secretive [obscenity]. So it's really Cheney's fault if anything in the movie happens to be wrong."
These are just some of the allegations against Cheney that Smith lists:
"Dick Cheney (into whom Christian Bale disappears) is portrayed as a dirtbag who was kicked out of Yale for boozing and brawling."
"Cheney is to blame for the launch of ISIS because he publicly mentioned the name of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, thus making him a superstar ... "
"Bush started the Iraq War not because he (and Cheney) thought it was the right thing to do but because they needed a PR stunt to make Americans like their team."
The father of lies lives!
Also at National Review, Ben Shapiro placed Vice in its recent historical context.
He noted that the film "is dedicated to the apparent evil of former Vice President Dick Cheney, the Left's all-purpose nefarious bugaboo during the Bush years. The film isn't unique: It follows W, starring Josh Brolin, a box-office failure; Truth, another box-office failure starring Robert Redford about Dan Rather's attempt to take down George W. Bush with a fake letter about his military service; and You're Welcome, America, starring Will Ferrell, which aired on HBO. None of these films raked in the cash."
If these movies, then, are not raking in the cash, why does Hollywood keep putting them out. In Shapiro's words, "The same Left that despises President Trump despised George W. Bush long before him."
It is ideology, more than greed, that is driving these productions. And it is ideology, more than truth, that is guiding them.
As expressed by an apparently non-conservative reviewer (who gave the film three stars), the movie "draws a direct line between the events of the past and the political status quo in the U.S. today."
As to why Cheney becomes George W. Bush's vice president, the film wants us to believe that Cheney accepted the job in order to be "the puppet master who's really in charge of Bush's administration; Dick accepts the offer and goes on to reveal just how powerful (and dangerous) a Vice truly can be."
Yes, the facts and nothing but the facts!
Over at The New York Times, a reviewer writes that, "Revulsion and admiration lie as close together as the red and white stripes on the American flag, and if this is in some respects a real-life monster movie, it's one that takes a lively and at times surprisingly sympathetic interest in its chosen demon."
Yes, Dick Cheney, with his distinguished political career, serves as the subject of a "real-life monster movie."
Little wonder, then, that Liz Cheney, the daughter of the former vice president, lashed out at Bale, famous for his portrayals of Batman. She said that Bale "finally had the chance to play a real superhero, and he clearly screwed it up."
She also took a swing at Bale once being arrested for assaulting his mother and sister (the case was dropped because of lack of evidence), tweeting, "Satan probably inspired him to do this, too,"
But putting this charge aside, and even acknowledging that Bale did not intend his words to be taken literally, it appears he was right on target when he said, "Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration on how to play this role."
That comes closer to the truth than the content of the movie.
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test? Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or YouTube.
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