Thursday, March 17, 2011

In the Loop

Directed by Armando Iannucci.
2009. Rated R, 106 minutes.
Peter Capaldi
Tom Hollander
Gina McKee
James Gandolfini
Chris Addison
Anna Chlumsky
Paul Higgins
Mimi Kennedy
Alex Macqueen
Olivia Poulet
David Rasche

Plot: When British Minister for International Development, Simon Foster (Hollander), goes on record saying that war in the Middle East is "unforeseeable," he becomes a pawn in the game between the pro-war and anti-war factions of the U.S. government. Based on the BBC sitcom The Thick of It.

The Good: The script is magnificently clever, and funny. It is political satire of the highest order. It thrives on organized chaos and showcases people who aren't quite as smart as they think they are. There is also the constant jockeying for position by people with power. All of this is tied together by the uniformly brilliant performances of the cast. In particular, Peter Capaldi as potty-mouthed aid to the British Prime Minister Malcolm Tucker is relentlessly hilarious. His is one of 2009's best and most overlooked performances.

The Bad: It satirizes events from the months leading up to the US and UK officially involving themselves as allies in war in the Middle East in 2003. In a world where the news cycle is ridiculously fast, it can feel dated from time to time. Like most satire, it is occasionally too smart for its own good. As a result, it limits its own audience to those who rebel against what pops up in the multiplexes.

The Ugly: Any one of Malcolm's expletive-filled tirades.

Recommendation: The movie ItL has been most compared to is the Stanley Kubrick classic Dr. Strangelove. Honestly, I'm not a big fan of that movie, but I am of this one. If you're looking for a political satire, grab this. Steer clear if you think Pineapple Express is the height comedy.

MY SCORE: 9/10

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