Thursday, 1 October 2009

In The Loop: Movie Review

In The Loop: Movie Review

Rating: 7/10
Cast: Peter Capaldi, James Gandolfini, Tom Hollander, Anna Chlumsky, Chris Addison
Director: Armando Iannucci

A riotous hit at the New Zealand Film Festival, In The Loop finally arrives on the wider circuit.
A spin off from the critically acclaimed The Thick Of It, it's a tale of politics, foul mouths and hilarious misunderstandings with global consequences.
With the British Prime Minister and US president looking to go to war, there are the inevitable political splits - and the situation is made much worse by Secretary of State for International Development, Simon Foster (Tom Hollander)
His comment that war is "unforeseeable" during an interview is picked up - and suddenly the entire world appears to be going to hell in a handcart.
Only to make matters worse, the UK's chief spin doctor Malcolm Tucker (a stunning bilious performance from Peter Capaldi whose anger seems to push him close to a stroke) latches onto Foster as he tries to limit the damage control.
In The Loop is a dizzying, hedonistic trip through the corridors of power.
It's about British politics and the satire - and takes in Washington politics as well.
It's fast paced, intelligent, frenetic and full of endlessly quotable F word moments - Iannucci shows why he's the king of UK satire as he lampoons the reality of life behind the political curtain.
With a top notch ensemble cast, In The Loop is full of quality performances - but one simply towers above the rest.
It's quite simply Peter Capaldi's film - his turn as spin doctor Malcolm Tucker defies description - from the first moments when he tells Foster's new intern to go away in no uncertain terms, it's clear he's not a man who minces his words.
But if it's Tucker's tirades which are the lasting memory of the film, you soon realize that the plot (such as it is) feels little more than a long drawn out episode of The Thick Of It (which if you've not seen when it was on TV ONE then I suggest you seek out the DVDs immediately)
That's not necessarily a bad thing but Iannucci almost paints himself into a corner with his story and there are lulls throughout.
However, thanks to the juxtaposition of an impending global war and the absurdity of constituency politics, he's able to weave a tableaux which is fun, frantic and requires a certain level of intelligence to follow.
In The Loop is a vicious satire and a very funny expression of politics as well as the levels it's played on - from the very top to the very bottom with quibbling interns.

You have to wonder how close to reality and truth this actually it is - and if it is, we're all in serious trouble.

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