Starring: Peter Capaldi, Tom Hollander, Chris Addison
Director: Armando Ianucci
Running Time: 106 mins
In The Loop is a British film, based on the TV show The Thick Of It, following the confusing relationship between Washington and Downing Street when the President and the PM hint at military intervention in the Middle East, while the Minister for International Development says that war is ‘unforeseeable’.
This is not only a hilariously funny film, but it’s a well-written, well-acted and interesting look into the US-UK political relationship nowadays. Written with the uniquely ingenious satire of Armando Ianucci, you get a great combination of simply funny jokes, and clever punts at the politicians and the politics at the time.
One of the main things that is so good about Ianucci’s political comedies is how real they feel. With that very slick and spontaneous, although sweary, dialogue, you feel right in the middle of a hot political minefield, while the brilliant filming style, a sort of handheld cam feel, pulls you even further into the world.
Of course, the story originates from The Thick Of It, but I think this is even funnier, because it’s snappier, faster-paced and set on an even bigger scale, meaning the inevitable odd little mistake isn’t just funny, but has catastrophic international consequences, which is hilarious.
The story is very clever and satirical too. It’s got a good combination of being very vague about the exact details of this ‘war’ and direct mick-takes of the events leading up to the Second Gulf War, so, while its deeper satirical base may lose strength over the years, it seems fictional enough to be an interesting film to watch at any time in the future.
However, the comedy and the characters are fantastic. Brilliantly (with the exception of Malcolm Tucker), you get a huge conflict between us incredibly reserved and awkward Brits, and the seemingly stronger-standing Americans, which becomes a hugely awkward affair to watch, but it really is hilarious.
Actually, Malcolm Tucker, being effectively the only non-English or American character in this film, stands out a lot. Of course, it’s not because of the fact that he’s Scottish, but it’s Peter Capaldi’s stunningly hilarious and simultaneously frightening performance that makes him such a brilliant character, and that now iconic swearing dialogue that he has with everyone is almost a joy to behold, being so ridiculous.
Overall, this gets an 8.6, because it’s a hilarious comedy, but also an interesting and well-written political satire.