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In the Loop
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
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
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.