Saturday, August 1, 2009

Review - In the Loop

A political based comedy set prior to the current Iraq conflict between both U.S. and U.K. governments. The story follows a british Secretary of State who accidentally backs military action in Iraq and desperately tries to side-step his interview statement both in the United Kingdom and the United States. Conversely in the U.S., a military General and a congresswoman try to stop the growing support of military action in Iraq.

"In the Loop" is a side-splitting comedy that is overloaded with satire. Much like the political atmosphere the film takes place in, the jokes move at an alarming rate bombarding you at every turn. The story is simple enough, but the dialogue and performances help to propell this film into one of the better comedies of the year. Furthermore, the two political sides and characters help to keep the film moving along, never slowing down in the slighest.

Armando Iannucci, who directed one of my all time favorite television shows "I'm Alan Partridge," does a fabulous job with the large cast and dialogue heavy script. Iannucci creates a film that feels like "The Office" set in the political sphere. The film proves that work is work, whether it is selling paper or manufacturing a war, and I was enthralled by how real the film felt. This can be credited to both the brilliant script written by Jesse Armstrong and Simon Blackwell and situational directing by Iannucci.

Iannucci creates the sense of urgency in both, the situations occuring and hilarious dialogue throughout "In the Loop." Whether you are watching the harsh communications chief scold the loose-lipped Secretary of State or watching the U.S. spin-doctors try to create support for the war you feel as though you are apart of the decision making. "In the Loop" does move at a mile a minute and if you are not paying attention there are jokes and dialogue that will be missed. There is hardly any scenes in which people are sitting down or no long conversations happen without moving from room to room, so it is a film that you have got to pay attention. I watched this film twice in the span of two days and even after my second viewing, I had excerpts from the dialogue that went missed or right over my head.

The cast of "In the Loop" are remarkable. Every member contributes to the comical yet realistic script wonderfully. Some of the smallest characters have some of the greatest moments including Steve Coogan as a local citizens who is worried about his wall tumbling down on his mother's greenhouse. Tom Hollander, who plays the British Secretary of State is laugh enducing throughout the entire film and his foul-mouthed counterpart Malcolm Turner played by Peter Capaldi is perfect. Capaldi steals every scene he is in with his gravely contempt for the people who work below him. His scenes scolding Hollander or Chris Addison will instantly make people recall that particular boss who was always on their bad side.

Mimi Kennedy, James Gandolfini and Ana Chlumsky (My Girl) aren't nearly as funny as their british counterparts within "In the Loop" however, each one of them provide quality performances which combine for making the film an hysterical event. Gandolfini plays a hard nosed General who opposes the war and isn't coy about making his viewpoints known. Gandolfini's scenes shared with Mimi Kennedy are good, but seem to be the slowest points to the rapid moving comedy. Gandolfini does however provide some great exchanges with Peter Capaldi. It was nice to see Chlumsky in a semi-major role again, and she delivers as the young assistant to Karen Clarke (Mimi Kennedy) whose paper on the negatives of the Iraq war gets turned against her. The semi-relationship she starts with Toby played by Chris Addison provides a few moments away from the politics heavy script, while also being comical in it's own regard. Addison, who plays Malcolm Tucker's assitant is very refreshing in a role that seems a bit too familiar.

Overall "In the Loop" was one of my favorite comedies of the year. It is intelligent, fresh, moves at a great pace while staying compelling and most of all hilarious. I didn't think the film would be as farcical as it was, which left me happily surprised to find my tickle bone being teased so much. Luckily the comedy never becomes too slapstick or diverting in anyway, instead keeps itself very cynical and focused on telling the events that are all too familiar.