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Overall Rating
4.59

Awesome68.75%
Worth A Look: 25%
Average: 3.13%
Pretty Bad: 3.13%
Total Crap: 0%

4 reviews, 8 user ratings


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In the Loop
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by William Goss

"Spin Art"
5 stars

If war is hell, and if hell is other people, then it would stand to reason that war is inevitable, so long as there are other people around. But not according to Simon Foster (Tom Hollander), the British minister of International Development, who makes the mistake of declaring that “war is unforeseeable” over the airwaves and thus unleashes the hell of other people on either side of the pond fighting over war.

Truth be told, it’s all a bit messy, but therein lies the glory of Armando Iannucci’s In the Loop, a deft and daft parade of razor-sharp semantics and colliding agendas. See, the U.S. is looking to launch a Middle East offensive in some nameless nation, and Foster’s little remark can be and promptly is taken by the State Department’s Linton Barwick (David Rasche) as the support of an ally and thus cause enough to proceed. However, Assistant Secretary of Diplomacy Karen Clarke (Mimi Kennedy) simultaneously wants to use Foster, along with the authority of Lt. Gen. George Miller (James Gandolfini) and a particular paper written by aide Liza Weld (Anna Chlumsky), as a means with which to expose Barwick’s hush-hush pro-war committee and prevent any such action. And that’s not to mention Foster’s volcanic advisor (Peter Capaldi), his own scrappy assistant (Chris Addison), and one angry constituent (Steve Coogan) whose concerns are so far removed from the political corridors and yet should, in principle, deserve equal attention amidst the hubbub that tends to come with preventing international conflict.

Yes, it’s somewhat overwhelming, but always credibly so – a trait that I can only suspect Iannucci carried over from "The Thick of It," the TV show from which this feature grew. At the very least, we can be grateful that he made sure to transplant Capaldi’s relentlessly profane and ill-tempered spin doctor, a master of vulgar insults too juicy to toss out here and endless in his many manipulations. Meanwhile, the most considered individual around, though flawed in his own right, is Gandolfini’s war-worn military man. “At the end of a war,” he says, “you need some soldiers, really, or else it looks like you lost.” It’s a funny line in the moment, but one that echoes the modern sense of losses ultimately manifesting themselves in a quantitative sense, as some sort of acceptable compromise rather than a tragic toll. And while everyone runs around from D.C. to the U.K. to the U.N., lobbing admittedly hilarious insults at one another, it’s as if every staffer and chief of staff in this considerable ensemble has gone right off a cliff the Looney Tunes way, and the moment they stop bickering and bantering and screaming and scheming is the moment they look down and suddenly find themselves plummeting towards accountability.

The quick-witted barbs are what make 'In the Loop' such wonderful folly; the underlying gravity is what elevates it to a majestic farce, and while some might scratch out ‘underlying gravity’ and write in ‘overwhelming cynicism,’ they wouldn’t be totally wrong. Either way, you’ve gotta laugh to keep from crying, and believe me, you’re gonna laugh – that much is foreseeable.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=18244&reviewer=409
originally posted: 07/30/09 13:47:04
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2009 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Tribeca Film Festival For more in the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2009 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Independent Film Festival of Boston 2009 For more in the Independent Film Festival Boston 2009 series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Seattle International Film Festival For more in the 2009 Seattle International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival For more in the 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Traverse City Film Festival 2009 For more in the Traverse City Film Festival 2009 series, click here.

User Comments

6/08/11 millersxing galling invective is rarely so funny as this 5 stars
9/13/10 MP Bartley Capaldi is tremendous, but the film dips occasionally. 4 stars
6/13/10 R.W.Welch Has some good lines, but not very invoving. 3 stars
6/11/10 User Name I'd give it a 4.5, if I could; Iannucci creates a genius satire. 4 stars
1/15/10 Dominic One of the funniest movies of the last 25 years 5 stars
8/30/09 john wow, cleverest ever..smart, lovely characters, mind blowingly funny 5 stars
8/27/09 R. G. Ranade Makes swearing into an operatic art form. 5 stars
7/25/09 Isaac Imnot in the loop 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  24-Jul-2009
  DVD: 12-Jan-2010

UK
  N/A

Australia
  24-Jul-2009
  DVD: 12-Jan-2010




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