Adam McKay Breaks Down a Key Moment from ‘Vice’ in Anatomy of a Scene (VIDEO)

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brian-mcgee - January 21, 2019


Vice is nothing if not a totally divisive film. Even the people who like it can't seem to reach a consensus on why they like it. The film's writer and director Adam McKay recently recorded an "Anatomy of a Scene" video for The New York Times magazine in which he breaks down one of the film's many, many scenes.

He chose the one that comes a little less than halfway through the film—following a fake-out ending complete with rolling credits—when a telephone call changes the course of history. McKay walks us through all the elements that come together in the scene to make it a turning point not just for the film, but for the history of the United States.

If Vice has any major problem that keeps it from being a great film, it's a total lack of subtlety. While it doesn't come off as a feature length SNL sketch the way Oliver Stone's W. did, it has a bit too much smugness to be truly great. McKay has a point of view, and I'm always happy to see a director with one rather than a rudderless empty vessel of a director, but too often that smugness worked to the film's detriment.

Vice's biggest problem, however, is every film's biggest problem... Not enough Sam Rockwell. Now that I think of it, Moon is probably the only movie that doesn't have that problem. Vice is in theaters everywhere now.