Vice Blu-ray Review

The story of Dick Cheney, an unassuming bureaucratic Washington insider, who quietly wielded immense power as Vice President to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today. Check out Ralph Potts’ Blu-ray review of Vice.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

90

Details:

Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox – 2018
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 132 minutes
Genre: Drama/Biopic

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Alison Pill, Jesse Plemons
Written & Directed by: Adam McKay
Music by: Nicholas Britell
Region Code: A

Release Date: April 2, 2019

“Beware the Quiet Man”

Synopsis:

“Nominated for 8 ACADEMY AWARDS®*, including Best Picture, Vice stars Christian Bale in his Oscar-nominated role as Dick Cheney in this epic tale of how a bureaucratic Washington insider quietly became the most powerful man in the world.” – 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

My Take:

In Vice Governor George W Bush of Texas picks Dick Cheney, the CEO of Halliburton Co, to be his Republican running mate in the 2000 presidential election. No stranger to politics, Cheney’s impressive résumé includes stints as White House chief of staff, House Minority Whip and defense secretary. When Bush wins by a narrow margin, Cheney begins to use his newfound power to help reshape the country and the world.

Wow. I took Vice in at the theater and found it to be an engrossing film experience. Writer/director Adam McKay’s penchant for storytelling is up front and center here. The flavorful tonal shifts are nearly perfectly executed across the board. Political dramas/biopics can be hit or miss with me. Obviously, I know who Dick Cheney is but, knew little about who he was before becoming G.W. Bush’s running mate in 2000. Now, let’s not kid ourselves, Vice isn’t intended to be a straight up biopic aimed at portraying the life and times of a political figure and the behind the scenes dealings that are associated with it.

What it is intended to be is light satire, with elements that are accurate and, some that are distorted, in order to make it more interesting from a storytelling perspective. Fact checking the film’s depiction of Cheney’s role in the historical proceedings contained therein reveals liberties taken in furtherance of this, which I was okay with. In general, most of the key bullet points within the plot are more or less accurate. For me, there were a few eye openers, as I didn’t really see Cheney in this light. Anyway, accuracy set aside, as a creative work, Vice is a home run.

There is an inventiveness to the storytelling that is matched by its historical significance. Highly dramatic at one turn and cleverly funny at the next, the somewhat scattershot narrative strikes a chord that rings true more often than not. Yes, the angle and agenda are up front and center but, knowing that is key to gleaning thee most from Vice. The cast is simply marvelous. Christian Bale, like him or not, knocks it out of the park. His performance is literally transformative. Had it not been for Rami Malek’s killer turn on Bohemian Rhapsody, Bale would have taken home the Academy Award. Amy Adams was nearly his equal and not only earned her Oscar Nomination but should have won.

Vice was nominated for 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture. It is justly deserving of the accolades bestowed upon it. I enjoyed it every bit as much during this second viewing as I did during the first. I can’t recommend it enough.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide: 

The rating is for language and some violent images.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

Vice comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

This is an excellent Blu-ray offering from Fox that looks terrific in high definition. Detail rendering is nearly flawless with lucid visual acuity and fine articulation that brings forth lots of subtle detail in the images onscreen. Colors are rich and delineated with pleasing primaries and warm tonality that make them pop nicely. The extensive palette of secondary hues featured in the story, appear vivid and warm. Flesh tones are natural with varying degrees of complexional separation among the cast. Boldly applied contrast and consistent black levels provide excellent balance during bright scenes containing mixed content. Shadow detail is strong which brings out plenty of discernible texture in low/uneven lighting and dark backgrounds.

This is primarily a dialog driven film however there are elements in the film that require use of the entire system so its ability to clearly render them is essential. Dialog is reproduced with transparent realism and lucid texture as it is appropriately balanced within the front soundstage. The surround mix utilizes the entire platform to recreate the many acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. The rear channels contain a mixture of spatial ambience/musical extension as well as directional panning cues that effectively support the front soundstage. This is an enriching audio presentation that mates well with the source material.

Bonus Features:

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gaming the system: The Making of Vice
  • The Music of Power
  • Photo Gallery
  • DVD
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Nominated for 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Vice is a wonderfully crafted film that aims high in the depiction of both its subject and subject matter, hitting the target more often than not. It comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring solid technical merits and a fair supplemental package that looks behind the scenes. Vice is quality entertainment that deserves serious consideration for inclusion in the collections of film fans.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems 

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