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In the Loop (9/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 106 minutes.

Not for children.

This is a fast-paced farce loaded with F-bombs and other profanities that is side-splittingly funny. It professes to show the backstage political action by the British that got the UN to approve the Iraq invasion.

Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) is the director of communications for the unseen and unnamed British prime minister. He vituperatively attacks a new Cabinet minister named Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) when Simon tells a radio interviewer that war is "unforeseeable.” Tucker’s contumelious invective is delivered rapid-fire and is unceasing and uproariously funny. He takes on everyone in the cast, ordering the hapless Foster to Washington to pledge British support for an invasion.

As with any farce, things go from horrible to excruciatingly funny as they get worse and worse and Malcolm gets more and more upset (although it’s hard to imagine him being even more upset than he is in the opening scenes).

This is brilliantly directed by Armando Iannucci, who also directed “The Thick of It,” a British TV series in which Capaldi also appeared as Tucker. What adds immensely to the fun is Iannucci’s cinéma vérité cinematography that puts the viewer in the middle of the pandemonium taking place on the screen. One barely has time to take a deep breath, so fast is the dialogue.

This is no left-wing diatribe, even though the good guys oppose the war. It’s an indictment of government in general. But its main purpose is to make people laugh, and laugh I did. Hurry up, though, if you want to see it. Although there were lots of people at my showing (most, interestingly, were seniors), it’s possible that it won’t be showing much longer.