In The Loop (15)



Comedy (2009)
105mins UK

Starring: Peter Capaldi, Tom Hollander, Chris Addison, Gina McKee, Mimi Kennedy, James Gandolfini, Anna Chlumsky, Steve Coogan
Director: Armando Iannucci
Writer(s): Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche, Ian Martin
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Tenacious communications chief Malcolm Tucker is hurriedly called into action to minimize the damage created by British Secretary of State for International Development, Simon Foster, after the minister claims that a US and British backed war is "unforeseeable". At the insistence of the Prime Minister, Foster heads for Washington accompanied by new aide Toby, while Director of Communications Judy papers the cracks back home. Foster soon finds himself embroiled in a tug of war between the pro- and anti-war factions, the latter spearheaded by US Assistant Secretary for Diplomacy Karen Clarke and US General Miller.

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LondonNet Film Review
In The Loop

Politics is full of so much spin and hyperbole, you could be forgiven for thinking that there is no substance whatsoever behind all of the handshakes and smiles...

In The Loop. Optimum ReleasingAward-winning satirist, Armando Iannucci, evidently thinks so too, poking mercilessly fun at the political establishment in his scabrous BBC Four series The Thick Of It. Iannucci reunites with the same writing team for this sardonic and foul-mouthed film, which crams more belly laughs into its first 20 minutes than most comedies manage in two hours. To say the script is polished to perfection and peppered with dazzling one-liners would be an understatement. The only danger is that you'll be guffawing so hard at some of the gags, the next punchline will be lost amidst the delirium. Some of the protagonists from The Thick Of It are resurrected here but the film stands alone as a biting indictment of blather and bluster. Ardent fans of the TV series will be just as helpless with laughter as complete newcomers to this world of sound bites and media manipulation.

In the eye of the storm is tenacious communications chief Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi), who is hurriedly called into action to minimize the damage created by British Secretary of State for International Development, Simon Foster (Tom Hollander), after the minister claims that a US and British backed war is "unforeseeable". Foster compounds his blunder by giving a second television interview. "To walk the road of peace," he blunders, "sometimes we need to be ready to climb the mountain of conflict." Tucker is aghast: "You sound like a Nazi Julie Andrews!" At the insistence of the Prime Minister, Foster heads for Washington accompanied by new aide Toby (Chris Addison), while Director of Communications Judy (Gina McKee) papers the cracks back home. Foster soon finds himself embroiled in a tug of war between the pro - and anti-war factions, the latter spearheaded by US Assistant Secretary for Diplomacy Karen Clarke (Mimi Kennedy) and US General Miller (James Gandolfini). While Tucker tries to prevent his man in a suit saying another word and embarrassing the British government any more, Toby woos Karen Clarke's ambitious intern, Liza (Anna Chlumsky).

In The Loop. Optimum ReleasingIn The Loop is hysterical, anchored by a virtuoso turn from Capaldi as the master of spin who will stop at nothing to achieve his party's goals. "I will marshal all the media forces of darkness to hound you to an assisted suicide," he snarls to one potential casualty. Hollander is a lovable klutz, getting one of the biggest laughs when his politician casually remarks he dare not watch an adult movie on the hotel television system in case he has to declare it. The plot unfolds at a lick with hardly any of the 105 minutes wasted as a potty-mouthed Scottish spin-doctor rebuilds reputations from the ashes with his finger on the political pulse.

- Jo Planter


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