"In the Loop": DVD Movie Review (2010)

2/22/2010 Posted by Admin

DVD Movie Review

“In The Loop”

By our guest blogger, Lita Robinson

“In The Loop” is a frantic British farce that imagines the beginning of the war in Iraq as one giant miscommunication between British politicians, who are incompetent, and American politicians, who are crazy.

The story centers on Toby (Chris Addison), a young aide to minister Simon Foster (Tom Hollander, excellent as always). When the film opens, Foster has just gone on a well-known British radio program to discuss his opposition to the British and American governments’ desire to go to war together against Saddam Hussein’s regime. However, when the interviewer ambushes him with an Iraq-related question, Foster’s bumbling response ends up sounding like an endorsement of the impending military offensive.

Soon, Foster is being hounded by the Prime Minister’s chief of communications, Malcolm Tucker (played with cheeky venom by Peter Capaldi), who is determined to avoid another public-relations meltdown. Foster’s comments are then picked up by American politicians eager to try and stop the rush to war on their side of the Atlantic, and soon Foster, Tucker and ingénue Toby are flying back and forth from London to Washington in an effort to clarify Foster’s position on the war.

Naturally, the more everyone else focuses on Foster’s position, the less sure he becomes of what his position really is, and much hilarious dithering ensues. The film ends in almost as much chaos as it begins, with Toby now woefully educated on the dangers of political talking points, and both the British and American governments still steaming together toward impending war.

The storyline of this film is really less important than its structure, which essentially is just a series of gaffe-filled vignettes strung together with breathtaking speed. The film’s director, Armando Iannucci (whose screenplay has been nominated for both a BAFTA and an Academy Award) has lots of experience in television, and that sort of smash-cut sensibility is what animates the film. Imagine “Notting Hill,” but on fast-forward, full of truly amazing obscenities, and about war rather than love.

James Gandolfini’s appearance as a retired Army general trying to stop the rush to war is especially inspired (choice quote: “Once you’ve been to war, you never want to go back unless you absolutely have to. It’s like France.”). In fact, the cast as a whole works together very well, with each insane political operative acting even crazier than the last. Watch this film if you’re a fan of “Dr. Strangelove” and other classic war satires--just be prepared for some updated, truly R-rated language.

Grade: B+

View the trailer for "In the Loop" below. What are your thoughts?

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