Welcome one and all to Flixist’s new end of the year awards program, the Golden Cages! With Hollywood becoming increasingly out of touch with what the people like, we at Flixist have taken it upon ourselves to deliver the fair, balanced, dignity-filled awards you deserve. Why are we delivering our 2018 awards so late in the year? Because the Oscars do it and we’re better than them. The winners of the Golden Cages will be spread out over the next two weeks, right before the hostless Academy Awards.
As a former actor, I’ve always been opposed to the idea of method acting. Acting is, in my opinion, embodying a character and filling in their words and actions with your own past experiences. The best example I can give is that anyone can play Romeo from Romeo & Juliet. Anyone can say “but soft, what light through yonder windows breaks,” but no one can truly BE Romeo. Your personal baggage, ideology, and perspective will make your Romeo distinctly you. No one else can be your Romeo.
Which is why method acting seems inane to me because you’re not putting your perspective into the role. You’re trying to become the role without understanding that each actor is their own person. If someone wanted to method act Romeo then they would need to get into street fights, murder a man, date an underage teenager, then contemplate suicide because of their life collapsing around you. Then, and only then, can you become Romeo. But then it’s not acting. You are Romeo, but you’re not playing Romeo. Method acting is a controversial topic when you discuss it with actors and everyone has a different take on it. While I don’t believe in it, that doesn’t mean that some actors don’t and will try to embody the person they’re portraying for an “authentic” experience. In the case of Christian Bale playing Dick Cheney in Vice, I may not agree with his methods, but damn does he give good results.
Back in the summer I would show people pictures of Christian Bale’s Cheney and ask them to guess who the actor was without telling them any more than this actor is playing Dick Cheney. No one was able to correctly guess that it was Bale in the role, which goes to show just how much he transformed himself for the part. Bale has been infamous for heavily losing and gaining weight for his roles, and despite my disagreement with it, he really drops himself into the role of Cheney physically.
As for the actual performance, Bale expertly portrays Cheney as a man who you don’t know much about. Even after seeing the movie I’m still not entirely sure how much I learned about the former Vice President. It’s not from a bad script, but because Bale gives Cheney a poker face 24/7. You can tell that he’s a man who’s always thinking. Is he thinking about how to exploit a political system? Is he contemplating how to bolster his own power? Or is he discerning whether he should do something right for his family and political allies? We never truly know and that mystery alone is captivating, but what sells it is that no matter what Cheney does, I believe it. Nothing is out of character for him and Bale makes it all seem natural and genuine.
Bale basically makes Cheney into a Shakespearean villain. Bale and director Adam McKay view him as a 21st century Richard III or even a Claudius with how he asserts his power over others, going so far as to give a soliloquy as the final scene of the movie about just how truly unremorseful he is because he did everything out of a sense of service to America. We made him what we wanted him to be in his eyes, so we don’t have the privilege to be upset or angered at him. Whether you agreed with Cheney’s policies or not, it was a powerful moment that cemented his victory as the winner of the Golden Cage for Best Actor,