Thursday, January 21, 2010

In the Loop

In the Loop (Armando Iannuci, 2009) [8]

Good political satire is a difficult accomplishment, and In the Loop succeeds because of its verbal fireworks. Following the path of a partially incompetent British cabinet minister (Tom Hollander) as he continually sticks his foot in his mouth in the run up to war with a certain Middle Eastern country, the film borders on sharp satire and vulgar absurdity. The film is filled with big talkers and cutthroat political opportunism and is big on profanity and laughs. Peter Capaldi steals just about every scene as the extremely foul-mouthed Scottish press officer attempting to wrangle the minister's gaffes. Often it feels that a lot of the political action of the film gets taken over by the mesmerizing profanities, but since they are the funniest moments of the film, it's hard to say they aren't the best part. The seemingly useless scenes with Steve Coogan as a near-crackpot concerned about the minister's constituency's crumbling wall offer some of the funniest moments. When the film does get the political points right, from David Rasche's arrogant neo-con to the nuts and bolts of fudging the intelligence to get to war, it reveals the chilling cynicism behind its colorful characters and language. The best satire reveals an uncomfortable truth behind its humor and in its simplest execution, In the Loop does just that.

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