IN THE LOOP Review (LA Film Fest)
In the Loop is a political satire which follows a British government minister, Simon Foster (Tom Hollander), who very clumsily makes the comment that “war is unforeseeable” during a TV interview. This leads to Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi), the communications chief, attempting to damage control this slip in order to further his pro-war agenda. Things end up getting more and more out of control in very comical ways, and the Brits end up in Washington where Foster meets Karen Clark (Mimi Kennedy), the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Diplomacy, and General Miller (James Gandolfini), who think he will help them in building a case against war. But turns out Foster is not the savior they were hoping for. In the midst of all this, Foster’s new advisor, Toby Wright (Chris Addison) gets his way around mostly by sleeping with Clark’s intern, Liza Weld (Anna Chlumsky). This kind of comedy of errors has some pretty crazy twist and turns which will eventually lead everyone to the U.N. for its close.
I wanted to see In the Loop for a while and finally caught a screening at the 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival. While I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, I think it’s definitely a smart and very funny political movie.
The reason I think people will enjoy In the Loop is because it builds on some really ridiculous situations, but at the same time it is somewhat based on truth, which while being funny is pretty scary if you think about it.
Simon Foster is kind of the “village’s idiot” who keeps getting deeper and deeper into shambles, the more he tries to get out of them. I think a quote would illustrate this better. After his faux pas by calling war “unforeseeable,” Foster comes up with the craziest explanation (I don’t even think he understands what he meant), which ends with a new quote saying that we need to “climb the mountain of conflict”… I’m still not sure exactly what that means. But that’s the character and that’s why it’s hilarious.
Of course this is only one example, In the Loop is full of fast-talking, caricatural characters who say things like “fuckity bye” and “a nazi Julie Andrews.” If only for that, you kind of have to check it out.
I also need to mention the cast who definitely brings the movie together. Every single one of them creates a character that makes the movie whole. Each one is different and each one is well defined. But I think the one you will remember the most is Peter Capaldi’s portrayal of Malcolm Tucker. There are no words to describe him, he is so unrestrained, it’s brilliant. He was my favorite thing about In the Loop.
So if you are a fan of political movies and especially enjoy political satires, I definitely recommend you check out In the Loop when it comes out to limited theaters on July 24, 2009 (it will also be available on IFC on demand on July 29).
Title: In the Loop
Director: Armando Iannucci
Cast: Anna Chlumsky, Chris Addison, David Rasche, Gina McKee, James Gandolfini, Mimi Kennedy, Olivia Poulet, Peter Capaldi, Steve Coogan, Tom Hollander and Zach Woods
Synopsis: A bumbling British government minister (Tom Hollander) makes a verbal snafu during a TV interview, inadvertently backing a U.S. war in the Middle East. The Prime Minister’s venomous communications chief (Peter Capaldi) attempts damage control as tensions quickly escalate on both sides of the pond. Soon the Brits are in Washington, where a U.S. General (James Gandolfini) thinks war is a crazy idea and the beleaguered U.S. Assistant Secretary for Diplomacy (Mimi Kennedy) scrambles to infiltrate the elusive and very hawkish War Committee. Meanwhile, the hapless minister responsible for the mess fuels more flames by attempting to gatecrash various corridors of power while his well-connected young spin doctor (Chris Addison) sleeps his way into diplomatic high jinks with a sexy young intern (Anna Chlumsky), culminating in a feverish United National Security Council vote that makes war seem as “unforeseeable” as the slip of the tongue that ignites this crackling, fast-talking political satire showcasing some of the most rollicking wordplay since the heyday of screwball comedy.
Release Date: July 24, 2009 (Limited)
Watch the trailer here.