I was just a teenager in 8th grade when I watched President George W. Bush address the nation as ‘under attack’ from the comfort of the orderly Oval Office desk in 2001. I did not know what kind of chaos was being brewed behind the scenes… being from a small town in upstate New York; and with the helpful influence of my father, a Marine Corps fire, crash, and rescueman (veteran), I later-deferred from going to school with most of my friends to instead follow in my father’s footsteps– I joined the US Air Force. There is little doubt the pro-war propaganda influenced the decision-making for myself and many like me, but I would argue that the anti-war rhetoric did not exist in cinema like it does today given the inevitable greater access to more and more accurate information available almost 2 full decades later. My main reaction from watching Adam McKay’s motion picture Vice is that: there is a good chance I would have never enlisted into the military in the first place, let alone re-enlist for a second 4-year term, had this film come out before I went to see the recruiter after turning 18 in 2006.
What bothers me the most about the film is not so much in the political issues of the film or having to rewatch history and rethink back to the trauma involved with the plane hijackings and terror that took place on that day. What really bothers me is not what took place some 17-18 years after the fact, on a Hollywood set, portrayed in a movie on a big-screen: it’s what’s going on in real life- like comments (or the lack thereof) from those portrayed in the film as hypocritical weaklings. Just 2 weeks after Vice was released to the public, Senator Liz Cheney says this of Christian Bale’s performance with a smirk and a grin on her straight face: “Christian Bale finally had the chance to play a real superhero and he clearly screwed it up.” I know I don’t stand angrily alone given the fact that Dick Cheney has remained silent since the film was released to the public. That makes me sick; surely he has something on his mind worth sharing?