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.Written by
Loop Film Productions Ltd/AT
The film's final credits roll over a long shot of the main office. At the very end, Malcolm Tucker comes out, looks at the TV and asks, "Who let this woman out with her fucking hair like this?! On national television?! Looks like she stuck her finger in a fucking electrical socket..." before walking away. See more »
One of the wittiest and most sophisticated movie satires of recent vintage, "In the Loop" provides us with a hilarious behind-the-scenes glimpse into the ugly, messy world of international diplomacy. The mad run-up to the Iraq war serves as the obvious blueprint for the fictional - yet far from make-believe - tale the writers have come up with here. We begin in London where news has just leaked out that the British and Americans are planning a military invasion of an unspecified country in the Middle East. When the bumbling Minister for International Development, Simon Foster, accidentally goes off script by stating in an interview that such a war is "unforeseeable," the Prime Minister's staff goes into immediate damage control mode, hustling Foster off to Washington D.C. to see if they can get him in on the pre-war planning and negotiations. From that point on, Foster becomes a bone-of-contention between the pro-war and anti-war factions battling it out for preeminence.
The source for "In the Loop" is a popular British TV series entitled "The Thick of It," with many of the actors from that program appearing in the movie (though we're told that most of the performers play different roles in the film from the ones they play on the show). As if that weren't confusing enough, the script by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche spends virtually no time on introductions or back story of any kind, leaving those of us who are unfamiliar with the context feeling just a wee bit lost and disoriented at the beginning. Indeed, we are plunged so immediately into the swirl of activity surrounding the minister's diplomatic faux pas that we learn early on that we had better start paying some serious attention to what's happening on screen or risk going under in pretty short order. I say this not as a criticism of the writing because, frankly, this is one of the few comic scripts I've come across in quite some time that actually treats its audience like thinking adults, that doesn't find it necessary to talk down to us in order to appeal to the lowest-common-denominator viewer. The one-liners come fast and furious in this film and woe to anyone not willing to make the effort to keep up with them. The good news is that the writing is so sharp and acerbic that we really don't mind putting that extra added effort into our viewing. One simply cannot be a passive onlooker while watching "In the Loop" and still reap the rewards of the experience.
With the kind of understated irony that distinguishes the best of British humor, the densely-plotted, character-rich screenplay aims its comedic sights at all the would-be power players, petty backbiters, toadying assistants, long-suffering aides, incompetent bureaucrats, draconian bosses, mealy-mouthed office-holders and enraged constituents that make up the world of high-level diplomacy and politics. The movie also has some fun with England's perceived role as ugly stepsister (or lapdog, if you prefer) to the bully-boy United States in matters of world affairs.
Director Iannucci gets nothing less than a sterling performance from each and every member of his large and gifted cast, be they American (with James Gandolfini the most recognizable face in that crowd) or British. However, extra special note should be taken of Tom Hollander, Chris Addison, Mimi Kennedy and, above all, Peter Capaldi, who tears up the screen as the deliciously ill-tempered and foul-mouthed enforcer for the British Prime Minister.
The truths this allegorical fable reveals about how easy it is to cherry pick evidence to lead a country into war and how hard it is for individuals of goodwill to stand up for what they know is right are so dead-on in their accuracy and so universal in their scope that they leave the mind reeling from the impact - and the ribcage aching from all the laughter.
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