by Matt J. Popham
This disappointing documentary about perhaps the most notorious Vice President in recent history is really just a chance for anyone who didn’t read the news during the reign of George W. Bush to play catch-up. While there are a few behind-the-curtain career tidbits and a mildly enlightening look at Cheney’s early life – all replete with commentary from the man, himself – we never get a larger sense of Cheney’s worldview, his political philosophy or even (dare I say it…?) his humanity. The film quickly glosses over the Regan/Bush administrations (years, it should be pointed out, central to the birth of neo-conservatism and the ascendency of American neo-liberalism) in order to provide a detailed account of Cheney’s White House years, but it fails to ask any probing questions or challenge Cheney on his self-assured, straightforward justifications. Reportedly, Cheney was unhappy with the film, but it’s hard to believe that a man so plainly unapologetic would concern himself with whether or not he comes out looking good. I think, more than likely, his objections are the same as mine: the film sheds no new light on its subject, offering instead a fragmented and anemic portrait of a man who, however reprehensible, is a good deal more complex than his media-manufactured image.