You might remember nothing else from “In the Loop” other than its landmark insults, but that’s enough. This high-brow dirty British humor from the writing team behind the hit British political comedy show “The Thick of It” is exceptional and its ability to intelligently prod at politics is almost more of a bonus.
“In the Loop” puts a finger on politics as the art of undoing hypocrisies. From the beginning, the film is about British Minister of International Development, Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) trying to recant a statement that war with a certain Middle Eastern country is “unforeseeable.” He then ends up telling the press one must “climb the mountain of conflict to walk the path of peace.” He is a PR nightmare, but his conflicting statements have attracted both pro and anti-war mid-level government powers in America who intend to use him as “meat.” Trying to conduct this chaotic orchestra is a fantastic supporting role from Scot Peter Capaldi as the vulgar and disparaging Malcolm Tucker, the prime minister’s PR man.
It’s kind of fascinating to watch a political film where the president and prime minister are faceless. I think that’s part of what makes “In the Loop” effective as well. Everyone is just a pawn in what will make or break the image of guy at the top of the chain. There are a lot of young people in the cast, which shows the large percentage of the young workforce in Washington. These characters are slowly evolving into the snide and blunt government veterans they work for, which helps complete the hysterical portrait of politics director Armando Iannucci is going for.
Do yourself a service and go straight to the IMDb memorable quote page for this film. That’s where “In the Loop” gets its appeal. Certainly the uninhibited superfluous trading of high- brow insults aren’t for everyone, but there’s definitely an audience of film buffs that will enjoy intellectual humor as a break from its banal physical counterpart.
In the Loop
Directed by: Armando Iannucci
Written by: Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
Starring: Tom Hollander, Peter Capaldi, Mimi Kennedy, Chris Addison, James Gandolfini, Anna Chlumsky