In The Loop

Directed by: Armando Iannucci Starring: Tom Hollander,Peter CapaldiJames Gandolfini

As the United States has ended its involvement in Iraq, a film about the international political machinations behind war seems an appropriate choice.  In the Loop starts with a verbal gaffe by British Minister for International Development Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) during a radio interview.  When asked about the likelihood of military involvement in the Middle East, he replies war is 'unforeseeable' rather than regurgitating a slightly more equivocating party line.  Despite the acquisition of a new aide, Toby (Chris Addision) and heavily profane warnings from communications manager Malcom (Peter Capaldi) to keep his mouth shut unless he can stick to the party script, things go from bad to worse.

Simon's clumsy attempts to seem more important than the minor career politician he is and to correct his previous mis-statement with vague metaphors actually thrust him into the spotlight as a war hawk.  Unwittingly, Simon has become tangled up in a bit of a power struggle between two US Assistant Secretaries.

Rather than figuring out how to extract Simon from international dilemmas and local constituents making a laughingstock of him in the press, Toby stirs the political pot behind the scenes with information leaks.  The layers of maneuvering on all fronts – among the aides, between the pro- and anti-war groups, within the party – are ultimately like a multi-tiered concoction of cake and filling: sickening overall, though some parts are highly enjoyable.

Perhaps if it would have been more A Modest Proposal and less plausible, I would have enjoyed this movie more overall.  Also, I didn't really like any of the characters. Regardless of their motives and stance on the war, they were all a bunch of manipulative, self-centered turds in one way or another. Plus, it was too long I did not find the ending satisfactory at all.  I like my movies idealistic and have to say I far more enjoyed the ending of She's The Man (which I inadvertently started watching on TBS and was inexplicably compelled to sit through the whole thing).

If you:

  • Are connoisseur of creative profanity
  • Find strategic maneuvering thrilling
  • Like watching people who think they're powerful act like ass-hats (i.e. throwing temper tantrums, shouting threats, stomping the crap out of fax machine in a manner that rivals the printer destruction scene in Office Space).

Put it in the queue!

However, if you:

  • Prefer to escape from reality when you watch movies
  • Cannot fathom why anyone would really want a career in politics
  • Don't find farce enjoyable

Don't put it in the queue.