Vice – Dick Cheney Movie

| January 3, 2019

A Kick in the Fly Fishing Crotch?

I went in to see the movie “Vice” last night, and although I had heard there was a fly fishing vein to the overarching theme of the movie, I wasn’t prepared for just what a HUGE role fly fishing plays in the movie. I guess I am the only one that sees movies in the theater because I have seen  zero discussion about this in my limited lurking online.

What I am left wondering is: Does this do anything to the general public’s perception of fly fishing? I get the feeling it does. We fly fishers perceive the sport as, well … a sport. Significant numbers see fly fishing as an elitist pursuit for people who have more money than sense, an open display of the North American class system. 

I know I have been fighting that perception since I got into the sport. Hence the famous and often appropriated sub tag “Fly Fishing Culture on the Skids.” Fly fishing Culture and Skids form a pretty vivid equilateral triangle in my square brain.

So not only is the movie “Vice” a fantastic movie, you need to STAY until the very end of the movie! The crazy closeups (ON THE BIG SCREEN) of these Cheney flies are worth the price of admission. I am getting ahead of myself though!

The thematic role of fly fishing comes into soft underwater focus when Cheney is trying to hook and land George Bush – before he accepts the VP spot. Cheney isn’t simply trying to get the VP spot – he didn’t even want it (in the traditional sense). He wanted to land the big one – POWER. Remember, after money, after fame, the last great conquest (for some) is POWER. Cheney redefined, temporarily, what a VP could possibly be. This thread of the story has some underwater video of trout swimming, lurking, looking for that perfect fly. The dry fly skates across the surface (totally incorrect) as Cheney tries to entice. He hooks, and you hear the drag rip off the reel. Bush does the deal with the “devil.” Interlaced with these elements are shots of Bale (who perfectly represents Cheney) rock crawling through a stream, tepidly stripping and recasting to get another drift. Just TO SEE fly fishing represented on the big screen again is so fantastic.

But Cheney is grotesque, and the fly fishing metaphor makes me squirm – probably because it works so well. And then there is that ending, after the ending, after the ending – where several closeup images of flies tied with a miniature bloody human heart, bullet casing, rockets, the White House and an eagle’s head — all are rough hewn, but that HOOK is always there sharp and barbed. 

I don’t really know what the consequences will be – probably nothing – as it relates to fly fishing, but the movie itself is greatness, and throw in a layer of fly fishing? People, go see this movie.

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Category: Culture on the Skids, Fly Fishing Video, Life Observed, Movies DVD Video

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

Comments (3)

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  1. shannon says:

    Well, I sure don’t! I thought the Bale fly fishing probably imitated Cheney to some extent. I wouldn’t expect Bale to be anything like that if he was “fly fishing as himself!”

  2. Catherine Culver says:

    http://www.kernriverflyfishing.com/

    Guy Jean is the fisherman who coached Christian Bale in fly fishing. See his site at the above address.
    Do fly fishermen outside of California know Mr. Jean?

  3. Catherine Culver says:

    I saw the movie yesterday. Enjoyed the flies at the end during the credits as well. Did you recognize the gentleman who was credited with consulting on the fly fishing? I can’t find his name on ImDB.

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