Dick Cheney’s influence on America over the past decade is unparalleled. With each successive year of living with bossy TSA guards, unwarranted surveillance, and drones over the Middle East, his efforts as the vice president during the W. Bush years are not lost on me. The World According to Dick Cheney doesn’t offer any great revelations on the man from its narrator or Cheney himself, but it does a great job of summing up the internal affairs and changes to policy during Cheney’s years in the White House.
Never taking a side, the film leaves me to speculate whether Cheney was a scared, paranoid, power hungry, or just cautious vice president.
The World According to Dick Cheney is a documentary that feels more appropriate for TV than cinema. It’s a very competent one, after its rough start. The film opens with Cheney chugging the remains of his Starbucks beverage, and then sad music playing over footage of 9/11, unfairly shifting the scale against him before he’s even introduced. Thankfully, the rest of the film is much more even-handed. Occasionally, Cheney’s critics will make a character judgement without examples and there are hiccups in the editing (some talking head appears for a second to deliver a not-so-good line and goes away before we even read his name!)
I’m woefully uninformed on the Bush administration, despite growing up during its reign. As such, I found a great deal of interesting information in this film that may be pedestrian to someone who’s followed the news and political columns over the years. The World According to Dick Cheney presents the veep as a college dropout that became a smart political strategist. He joined Bush junior’s cabinet reluctantly, only to take over the White House with his old friends from the Ford and Bush senior years. It’s a case of “be careful what you wish for.”
Following Cheney ‘s life, leading up to the pivotal moment when he and America changed on 9/11, is riveting thanks to a quick pace and succinct information. There are many documentaries that go into the various facets of Cheney’s years in greater detail: the war in Iraq, homeland security, torture policies, etc. The World According to Dick Cheney may be a documentary for the laymen, but it’s a good and (mostly) fair one that leaves it up to the viewer to judge Cheney’s character and imagine how things might have been different if he hadn’t been such a Dick.