Monday, October 20, 2014

In the Loop (2009)

Director: Armando Iannucci
Writers:  Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
Cast:       Peter Capaldi, Tom Hollander, James Gandolfini, Chris Addison

The film satirizes Anglo-American politics in the 21st century and the invasion of Iraq, specifically how false intelligence was used to obtain the UN security council vote. It is a spin-off from the BBC television series 'The Thick of It', with almost all the regulars in it showing up albeit as different characters with the exception of Peter Capaldi, who reprises the Malcolm Tucker role.

Most of it is set in US where there is a UN vote on Iraq war. Tom Hollander plays the role of a UK minister who inadvertently uses the phrases 'War is unforeseeable' and 'Climbing the mountain of conflict' in two separate interviews becoming the poster child for both the against-war and for-war camps in US politics. You get what you expect from a 'The Thick of It' spin-off and it can be classified as political swear comedy. Even the pocket swear machine Jamie (Paul Higgins), the crossest man in Scotland, and the guy who played Julius Nicholson (Alex MacQueen) makes an appearance. Steve Coogan is also in it playing an angry constituent from the minister's seat going batshit over a collapsing wall. The third season of 'The Thick of It' came out just after the film was released and it is a shame that Jamie didn't feature in third or fourth seasons of TToI. 

Highlight of the film would of course be the famous standoff between Gandolfini and Tucker with the latter having the last laugh with his statement 'Don't ever fucking call me English' to a decidedly confused looking Mr. Tony Soprano. Iannucci was extremely pissed off with the way the consensus was built for Iraq war and he uses this film to vent. He also uses the way BBC was bullied by the Tony Blair government, for its WMD evidence reporting, in the film. It is interesting the way they contrast the UK and US styles of politicking with the latter being too self important and former with all the insecurities being US' bitch when it comes to foreign policy. 

'In the Loop' was made for a meager budget of a million US dollars and was screened initially at the Sundance film festival garnering positive reviews. It also got academy awards nomination for 'Best Adapted Screenplay'. With TToI and In the Loop we have got about 15 hours of unadulterated genius from Armando Iannucci and it seems he is not going to revisit it again. The film might have brought him under HBO's attention resulting in Julia Louis-Dreyfus starring Political comedy series 'Veep', which is not nearly as good as TToI but still a great watch. I guess if 'In the Loop' got released post the success of Veep in US, it might have been a bigger box office success.

Rating: 5/5