Synopsis

The US President and UK Prime Minister fancy a war. But not everyone agrees that war is a good thing. The US General Miller doesn't think so and neither does the British Secretary of State for International Development, Simon Foster. But, after Simon accidentally backs military action on TV, he suddenly has a lot of friends in Washington, DC. If Simon can get in with the right DC people, if his entourage of one can sleep with the right intern, and if they can both stop the Prime Minister's chief spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker rigging the vote at the UN, they can halt the war. If they don't... well, they can always sack their Director of Communications Judy, who they never liked anyway and who's back home dealing with voters with blocked drains and a man who's angry about a collapsing wall.

Director

Armando Iannucci

Cast

Peter Capaldi
as Malcolm Tucker
Tom Hollander
as Simon Foster
Gina McKee
as Judy Molloy
James Gandolfini
as Lt Gen. George Miller
Chris Addison
as Toby Wright
Anna Chlumsky
as Liza Weld
Paul Higgins
as Jamie McDonald

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by sundevil27 8 /10

Get In the Loop

Is it a work of fictional farce or an insightful view of the members of the governmental bureaucracy? Probably in truth, In The Loop is a little bit of both, but more so its a whole lot of fun at the governments expense. There have been numerous films over the years giving us insight into how our government works, at times it sure looks bleak and unjust, but we sure haven't seen it in such a ridiculous view. In The Loop aims at making sure they scrutinize the bureaucratic desk jocks for all their worth. The film follows the Minister of International Development (Tom Hollander) after he has put his foot in his mouth, unintentionally announcing that war is unforeseeable. Back tracking and word-smith manipulations prove mute, fortunately for the Minister he's got big fans in the US who would like nothing more then to use the naive Brit in their political posturing. The hawks begin circling and before the Minister knows what game he's playing he's into deep and merely a puppet in the political theater.

There is a hint of a serious political thriller in the plot here, but In The Loop knows we've seen all that before so why not have a little fun, actually why not have a whole lot of fun and throw in lots of scalding four letter words and absolute British wit. Tom Hollander as the Minister of I.D. is dumb-foundingly perfect in his role and is well complemented by his bungling assistant Oliver (played exceptionally by Chris Addison). As the Director of Communications, Peter Capaldi steals the show with his relentlessly scathing superhuman vulgarity ridden wit. Those with a distaste for such colorful language should look elsewhere as their ears will certainly be on fire if they can last through a third of the film. Personally the language was not a problem for me, I appreciate a master of the finer words, and Capaldi has shown himself to deliver his lines with such craftsmanship that sailors around the world will be put to shame.

The Brits are a fantastic mess, but of course what international mess would be complete without the United States Govt.. And so comes the behemoth know as James Gandolifini, the Don Capo hasn't lost any of his on-screen presence. As the ol' war vet Pentagon General, Gandolfini is gruff and verbally abusive in a really mean spirited way, which is glorious. Those with a keen sense of cinema will notice how well the film shifts humor as the Brits come across the pond to the the dry humor of America. Gandolfini makes the most of his screen time, but on the American side the majority of the ridiculousness comes from Mimi Kennedy, as the Assistant Secretary of Diplomacy and her bickering 20 something Capital Hill brown nosing assistants. Director Armando Ianucci's delivers such a cynical sharp witted look at all things politically ridiculous and it works on so many levels. Fans of British humor will love this, its pureness to the form is perfectly meshed into the political platform that moves the comedy along with merely a few small bumps in the road. On the other side of the coin, those who enjoy making fun of those of the diplomatic persuasion will delight in the roasting of our governmental members.

Reviewed by the_rattlesnake25 9 /10

Wall-Ace and Gromit!

One of the best political satirical comedies in years! 'In The Loop' is a spin-off (kind-of) of the fantastic British comedy 'The Thick of It', and follows Simon Foster (Tom Hollander), a Cabinet Minister who makes a series of unfortunate slip-ups, the first is when he tells an interviewer that he believes war (always referred to as the invasion or the war, but never Iraq or potentially Afghanistan) is "unforeseeable" before telling journalists under pressure that you have to conquer a mountain of conflict on the path of peace. These mistakes place him in the middle of a diplomatic mine-field as both, the anti-war constabulary led by General Miller (James Gandolfini) and the Assistant Secretary of Diplomacy Karen Clark (Mimi Kennedy), and the gung-ho supporter of war Linton Barwick (David Rasche) - so crazy he keeps a live grenade as a paperweight - want Simon as a transatlantic partner to support their cause. Should he put his conscience or his political career first? Oh, and throw in hilariously vicious Senior British Press Office Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) and a bumbling Adviser to the minster (Toby played by Chris Addison) and you have one of the best political satires to come from Britain in years.

What makes the film work so well is the incredibly sharp witty script from a collaboration of writers that keeps the gag-per-minute counter ticking. Every meeting, confrontation political mishap is cradled with joke after joke whether they are subtle references to the cynicism and underhandedness in the current (or foregone) political climate or simply one of Malcolm Tucker's fantastic rants – "I'm going to tear out your shinbone, split it in two and stab you to f**king death with it" - at ineptitude of everybody around him. Every actor and actress involved give solid performances as the flawed members of the tense political world. While Simon's central story keeps the film on the ground despite a few diplomatic detours (that are still hilarious, even though they take up little of the running of time).

Armando Iannucci has already proved to the British public that he can create entertainment for the TV-masses and 'In The Loop' proves he also has the skills to replicate this on a wider, international, big-screen scale as well. It's intelligent, it's offensive, and it's bleeding funny. See this film!

Reviewed by MovieAddict2016 9 /10

This film may one day be for politics what Spinal Tap was for heavy metal.

In the Loop is an unusually good and funny film from a usually tepid and rather unfunny genre. After enduring an onslaught of mediocre films centered around the war in Iraq, 2009 seems to have finally brought audiences closer to cinematic resolution: first Kathryn Bigelow's invigorating The Hurt Locker gave us a fresh insight, and now this: a relatively lighter affair, to be sure, but one of such rapid-fire wit that a second viewing is almost required.

In stereotypically British fashion, the humour is dry — you probably won't experience many belly laughs — and yet selling it merely as such seems like something of a disservice to its quality. Best described in one line as a blend of Dr. Strangelove, This Is Spinal Tap and the Ricky Gervais Office series, director Armando Iannucci has parodied the lunacy of political disinformation and thoughtless rhetoric without his film coming across as a laborious broken record or the mouthpiece of an insufferable pacifist. No, you don't have to be a liberal to enjoy this (although I can't necessarily picture Bill O'Reilly endorsing it) — anyone with an appreciation for intelligent comedy, regardless of personal views, should find something to admire here, and it'll be a shame if the picture isn't at least nominated for Best Screenplay by year's end.

The film is a spin-off of Iannucci's UK show The Thick of It, starring a couple of the same characters, and it presumably takes place during the days leading up to the invasion of Iraq (although, to be fair, we're never given the precise name of the country being targeted, nor the date for which these events take place).

The plot moves fast and some of the characters are hard to get a handle on at first, but it goes something like this: Britain's Minister of International Development, Simon Foster (Tom Hollander), has a slip of the tongue while recording a live radio interview, admitting that any instance of war is "unforeseeable" and thereby perhaps even necessary — thus enraging the Prime Minister's Director of Communications, Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi in a scathingly brilliant performance). At the behest of the PM, Tucker has Foster and his new assistant, Toby (Chris Addison), shipped off to Washington, D.C., where they suffer a game of political discourse with a pro-war State Department official (played well by David Rasche). The film also features talented actors in minor roles: James Gandolfini appears in one of the film's most unexpectedly funny scenes, as a four-star general who computes the cost of a hypothetical war using a kids' toy calculator. ("At the end of a war, you need some soldiers left, really, or else it looks like you've lost.") Steve Coogan, whose wonderful Alan Partridge was co-created by Iannucci, pops up in one of the more silly-minded sequences, as a man with a bit of a wall issue.

Though the film has achieved almost unanimous praise amongst critics, there have been some complaints, namely those of the NY Press' Armond White. Usually I don't address the comments of other reviewers, mainly because I typically don't care, but also because everyone is entitled to their own opinion; yet I felt compelled to respond to White's assertion that "Iannucci's sense of place is indistinguishable from The Office or The West Wing." The Office, sure, but The West Wing? Really? Did we watch the same film, Mr. White? That show's relative glamorization of closed door politics could not be at more complete odds with In the Loop, both in style and substance. What's particularly interesting is that UK magazine Time Out did an article on the film last year, and even cited the movie's production design as being the polar opposite of The West Wing's. Journalist Dave Calhoun wrote: "Iannucci tells me that he sees In the Loop as a cousin of The Thick of It. The similarities are everywhere, down to the docu-style, hand-held camera-work evident on the monitors (it's the same director of photography) and the anti-'West Wing' production design that throws all notions of political glamour out the window." I mention this only because it is worth pointing out the movie's heavy cynicism. Screen International's David D'Arcy noted the film's untimely release: "Its exuberant, boundless cynicism will test the demand for political satire in an Obama-infatuated America." I respectfully disagree — audiences have never shown an inclination towards noting their countries' present failures, which would perhaps best explain why almost every single motion picture focused on the Iraq War since 2003 has been a box office flop. Audiences flock to cinemas for escapism — not reminders. If time heals all wounds, then perhaps this is the opportune time to release In the Loop: at a point when we can begin to take a step back and accept the humour.

Regardless: this is a very sharp, decisive comedy, and certainly worth seeking out. The "instant classic" label is vastly overused, but it is perhaps not unforeseeable that this film may one day be for politics what Spinal Tap was for heavy metal.

In other words: an instant classic.

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