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As often with documentaries, this one stands and falls with its subject matter for me. I do not like films too much where a single event causes a long movie, without actually providing substance to anything underlying it (“Man on Wire” a while ago, “Sugarman” recently). “Cheney” is better. As a documentary it does not seek to be very cinematic (Morris’ McNamara documentary would be the clear contrast), but at its heart is a very interesting person. The film is fascinating as long as that person’s story is interesting.

Dick Cheney talks, he gets a couple of soft and a couple of harder questions, but the striking thing is to see a multi-coloured tableau evolve that is Dick Cheney. At the end of the film’s running time, I had the feeling that I knew pretty well what that man is about, where his opinions come from, what his attitude even towards the topics he did not talk about were, and what position he would take if confronted with another decision similar to the ones he discussed in the film. He presents himself quite openly as a stubborn man, as somebody who rarely finds reasons to  deviate from a once-formed opinion, and as somebody who quite astonishingly does not care about legal matters once he’s decided what’s the right thing to do. Once he formed an opinion, this is by definition the right thing to do. If (as detailed in the interview) the Ministry of Justice with all its legal brain power is of the opinion that a citizen surveillance programme has to end because it lacks any legal foundation whatsoever (a story that was new to me, and very fascinating: all the key staff had signed resignation letters prepared for the case that the programme would get an extension, as they would not be involved in such an illegal operation), then they are wrong. The right thing to do for Cheney in that situation is to circumvent the President as long as possible, and face him with a twisted story of the Ministry’s last minute change of position. If the Intelligence services of the world agree on Iraq being not in possession of weapons of mass destruction, then he produces the single sheet of paper claiming that some years ago they tried to purchase plutonium. The documents falsifying that claim are not produced. If it’s necessary to torture somebody to supposedly learn some new intelligence, then that’s the right thing to do…

I was astonished, I admit, never in my life have I experienced anybody who holds or held a public office who so openly negates the meaning of law and justice. That insight alone made watching “The World According to Dick Cheney” worth the time.

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