In the Loop (2009) Poster

In the Loop (2009)

  • Rate: 7.5/10 total 21,432 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Date: 17 April 2009 (Ireland)
  • Runtime: 106 min
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In the Loop (2009)


In the Loop 2009tt1226774.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: In the Loop (2009)
  • Rate: 7.5/10 total 21,432 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Date: 17 April 2009 (Ireland)
  • Runtime: 106 min
  • Filming Location: Inglis Barracks, Mill Hill, London, England, UK
  • Budget: £612,650(estimated)
  • Gross: $2,384,044(USA)(18 October 2009)
  • Director: Armando Iannucci
  • Stars: Tom Hollander, Peter Capaldi and James Gandolfini
  • Original Music By: Adem Ilhan   
  • Soundtrack: Sentence To Burn One
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Vote | Lieutenant General | Washington D.C. | Middle East | Wall

Writing Credits By:

  • Jesse Armstrong (screenplay) &
  • Simon Blackwell (screenplay) &
  • Armando Iannucci (screenplay) &
  • Tony Roche (screenplay)
  • Ian Martin (additional dialogue)
  • Harold Manning (french adaptation) uncredited

Known Trivia

  • Director Armando Iannucci provides the voice over for when the UN resolution passes.
  • Prior to filming, Armando Iannucci gained access to the US Department of State by flashing a simple photo ID to a security guard and saying “BBC. I’m here for the 12:30.” He then spent a few hours walking around taking pictures for his set designers. The meeting in which General Miller is stood up by Linton Barwick was also scheduled for 12:30.
  • Many scenes set at 10 Downing Street (the Prime Minister of the United Kingdoms’s office) were actually filmed at the real 10 Downing Street. The production gained access to the location largely because the staff were extremely excited to meet the actors who were playing their fictional counterparts.
  • Armando Iannucci, in an interview with Terry Gross on 27 July 2009, said that he at one point told his British cast members to think of “the first time you went to Hollywood”, for the scenes that follow the Prime Minister’s trip to Washington: “(Y)ou had all sorts of meetings, and all sorts of agents came up to you and said how great you were, and how you thought it was all going to change, and then after your stay in Hollywood for three or four days, you went home empty-handed”. He described this as the experience he had when going to Los Angeles a few years before to talk about possibilities for an American version of his show The Thick of It.
  • The shooting script after thirty days of filming was 237 pages long. The first cut of the film was 4.5 hours long. The final edit took four months to complete.
  • Keira Knightley is cited by the Minister for International Development Simon Foster as a good choice for a companion on a deserted island. Simon Foster is played by Tom Hollander, whom worked with Knightley in Pride and Prejudice and the Pirates of Caribbean saga.
  • Despite being based on Armando Iannucci’s TV show _”The Thick Of It” (2005)_ , and sharing the hand-held camera movements and pervasive bad language of it, only three of the characters in the film are the same as in the TV show: Malcolm Tucker, Jamie McDonald, and Sam, Malcolm’s PA.
  • The Death Metal band ‘Cannabis Corpse’ make an appearance during the film.

Goofs: Errors in geography: When Malcolm Tucker leaves the White House urgently for the State Department, he is seen running eastwards on Pennsylvania Avenue, and in the following scene past the Willard Hotel on E St NW. This route would take him directly away from the State Department, which is west of the White House.

Plot: The US President and UK Prime Minister fancy a war. But not everyone agrees that war is a good thing… See more »  »

Story: The US President and UK Prime Minister fancy a war. But not everyone agrees that war is a good thing. The US General Miller doesn't think so and neither does the British Secretary of State for International Development, Simon Foster. But, after Simon accidentally backs military action on TV, he suddenly has a lot of friends in Washington, DC. If Simon can get in with the right DC people, if his entourage of one can sleep with the right intern, and if they can both stop the Prime Minister's chief spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker rigging the vote at the UN, they can halt the war. If they don't… well, they can always sack their Director of Communications Judy, who they never liked anyway and who's back home dealing with voters with blocked drains and a man who's angry about a collapsing wall.Written by Loop Film Productions Ltd/AT  


Synopsis: IN THE LOOP is a foul-mouthed comedy that draws on non-specific events to create a world that is terrifyingly familiar: The US President and UK Prime Minister fancy a war, but not everyone agrees that war is a good thing. US General Miller (James Gandolfini The Sopranos, The Taking Of Pelham 123) certainly doesn’t think so and neither does the British Secretary of State for International Development, Simon Foster (Tom Hollander Pirates of the Caribbean, Pride and Prejudice). But when the mild-mannered minister inadvertently appears to back the war on prime-time television, he immediately attracts the attention of the PMs venomously aggressive communications chief Malcolm Tucker (reprised from The Thick of It by Peter Capaldi), who latches onto him like a hawk. Soon, the Brits are in Washington, where diplomatic relations collide with trans-Atlantic spin doctors and Fosters off-hand remark quickly spirals into an insurmountable mountain of conflict. [D-Man2010]


FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Simon Fawcett known as executive producer
  • Daniel Hank known as line producer: USA
  • Paula Jalfon known as executive producer
  • Christine Langan known as executive producer
  • Kevin Loader known as producer
  • Rosa Romero known as line producer
  • Adam Tandy known as producer
  • David M. Thompson known as executive producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Peter Capaldi known as Malcolm Tucker
  • Harry Hadden-Paton known as Civil Servant
  • Samantha Harrington known as Malcolm's Secretary
  • Gina McKee known as Judy Molloy
  • Tom Hollander known as Simon Foster
  • Olivia Poulet known as Suzy
  • Chris Addison known as Toby Wright
  • James Smith known as Michael Rodgers
  • Zach Woods known as Chad
  • Mimi Kennedy known as Karen Clark
  • Anna Chlumsky known as Liza Weld
  • Enzo Cilenti known as Bob Adriano
  • Lucinda Raikes known as Reporter
  • James Doherty known as Reporter
  • David Rasche known as Linton Barwick
  • Reid Sasser known as Airport Security Man
  • James Gandolfini known as Lt. Gen. George Miller
  • Johnny Pemberton known as A.J. Brown
  • Chipo Chung known as Annabelle Hsin
  • Del Pentecost known as White House Tourist
  • Joanna Scanlan known as Roz
  • Joanna Brookes known as Mrs. McDiarmid
  • Steve Coogan known as Paul Michaelson
  • Rita May known as Mrs. Michaelson
  • Paul Higgins known as Jamie MacDonald
  • Alex MacQueen known as Sir Jonathan Tutt
  • Eve Matheson known as New Minister
  • Will Smith known as New Advisor
  • Christian Contreras known as Jeff Romero (scenes deleted)
  • Chizzy Akudolu known as UN Cleaner (uncredited)
  • Stephanie Cannon known as US State Department Employee (uncredited)
  • Jen Carden known as Club Dancer (uncredited)
  • Scot Cregan known as Airport Traveller (uncredited)
  • Jim Hild known as Party Goer (uncredited)
  • Julie Mun known as State Dept. Staffer (uncredited)
  • Natasha Sattler known as Club Dancer (uncredited)
  • Janelle Schmidt known as Club Dancer (uncredited)
  • John Snowden known as Government Minister (uncredited)
  • Al Sotto known as Limo Driver (uncredited)
  • Patrick Michael Strange known as State Dept. Staffer (uncredited)
  • John Warman known as Security (uncredited)
  • Don Whatley known as Party Goer (uncredited)



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Kay Bilk known as hair stylist
  • Kay Bilk known as makeup artist
  • Tamsin Dorling known as makeup artist
  • Marese Langan known as hair designer
  • Marese Langan known as makeup designer
  • Annabelle MacNeal known as assistant hair stylist: USA
  • Annabelle MacNeal known as assistant makeup artist: USA
  • Isabelle Webley known as makeup artist

Art Department:

  • Dave Allen known as construction manager
  • Rachel Aulton known as stand-by art director
  • Marshall Aver known as production buyer
  • Ben Bagley known as dressing props
  • Ray Bell-Chambers known as carpenter
  • Gary Bird known as carpenter
  • Alan Bruckner known as art director: USA
  • Rebecca Chidgey known as assistant art director
  • Melloney Cunnell known as production buyer
  • Gary Davies known as stagehand
  • Matthew Dewar known as props: dailies
  • Eddie Downes known as props: dailies
  • Kerry Farley known as painter
  • Sharon Fergus known as carpenter
  • Bruce Gallup known as painter (as Bruce Gallop)
  • Jane Gilchrist known as prop hand
  • Gavin Grant known as prop hand
  • David Gray known as painter
  • Jeffrey Hardwick known as props: dailies
  • Andy Harris known as props: dailies
  • Clint Hellyer known as carpenter
  • Kez Keyte known as stand-by props trainee
  • Roger Kiff known as carpenter
  • Dwain Laight known as props: dailies
  • Ben Lobb known as painter
  • James Mannell known as prop hand
  • Toby Marrow known as props: dailies
  • Eric A. Marx known as props: USA (as Eric Marx)
  • Antony May known as props: dailies
  • Eddie O'Neill known as stagehand
  • Mark Papworth known as prop hand
  • Morgan Parker known as props: dailies
  • Steve Parnell known as props: dailies
  • Nick Pearson known as construction medic
  • Gert Rademeyer known as carpenter
  • Sui Rajakaruna known as art department researcher
  • Steve Register known as property master
  • Neil Robertson known as stagehand
  • Tessa Scott known as painter
  • Michael Spence known as props: dailies
  • Jo Sweeney known as graphic designer
  • Donna Turner known as painter
  • Chris White known as carpenter
  • Paul White known as carpenter
  • Michael Whitemore known as props: dailies
  • Robert J. Dugdale known as painter (uncredited)
  • Sammy Steward known as props (uncredited)




Production Companies:

  • BBC Films (presents)
  • UK Film Council (presents)
  • Aramid Entertainment Fund (as Aramid Entertainment) (in association with)

Other Companies:

  • AP  title design
  • ARRI Media  camera equipment provided by
  • Ace Minibus  minibuses
  • Audiolink Radio Communications  walkie talkies
  • Avion  travel agent
  • BBC Motion Gallery  stock footage
  • BBC News 24  thanks
  • Big City Reservations  hotel bookings
  • Capello Media Solutions  negative checks and script clearances
  • Casting Collective  extras casting
  • Clarity Post Production Sound  foley recorded at
  • Compuhire  computer and video playback
  • Direct Lighting  lighting equipment
  • Dynamic International  shipping
  • Edit Hire Post Production Services  post-production facility (as Edit Hire)
  • Fatts  post-production script services
  • Fayre Do's  catering
  • Film Finances  completion guarantor
  • Framestore  digital intermediate
  • Goldcrest Post Production London  ADR Facility
  • Goldcrest Post Production London  sound re-recorded at (as Goldcrest Post Production)
  • Hothouse Music  thanks
  • M&C Executive Cars  executive cars (as M & C Executive)
  • MK Travel  minibuses
  • Midnight Express  international courier (as Midnite Express)
  • Movie Lot, The  location security
  • Pool Miloco Studios  music recorded at
  • Production Copier Company  production equipment and services
  • Rapid Talent  extra casting
  • Shipleys  auditor
  • Simons Muirhead & Burton  legal services
  • Sky News  stock footage
  • Special Treats Production Company  epk (as The Special Treats Production Company)
  • Totally Entertainment  insurance broker


  • Optimum Releasing (2009) (UK) (theatrical)
  • IFC Films (2009) (USA) (theatrical)
  • CTV International (2009) (France) (theatrical)
  • Tour de Force (2009) (Norway) (theatrical)
  • Ascot Elite Home Entertainment (2011) (Germany) (DVD)
  • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) (2010) (UK) (TV) (BBC2)
  • Entertainment One Benelux (2011) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • Entertainment One Benelux (2011) (Netherlands) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Front Row Filmed Entertainment (2009) (United Arab Emirates) (all media) (Middle East)
  • MPI Home Video (2010) (USA) (DVD)
  • MPI Home Video (2010) (USA) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Madman Entertainment (2009) (Australia) (all media)
  • NonStop Entertainment (2009) (Scandinavia) (all media)
  • Optimum Home Entertainment (2009) (UK) (DVD)
  • Optimum Home Entertainment (2009) (UK) (DVD) (Blu-ray)



Other Stuff

Visual Effects by:
  • Ben Baker known as head of digital lab: Framestore
  • Clare Brody known as data operator: Framestore
  • Richard Edwards known as data operator: Framestore
  • Esme Long known as digital intermediate producer
  • James Long known as data operator: Framestore
  • Louie Alexander known as digital compositor: Framestore (uncredited)
  • Zachary Bloom known as scanning and recording: Framestore (uncredited)
  • Paul Burke known as scanning and recording: Framestore (uncredited)
  • Adam Hawkes known as digital compositor: Framestore (uncredited)
  • Karsten Hecker known as film mastering engineer (uncredited)
  • Kevin Lowery known as high definition engineer (uncredited)
  • Veronica Marcano known as scanning & recording operator (uncredited)
  • Edwin Metternich known as digital intermediate retouch (uncredited)
  • Lee Rankin known as scanning and recording: Framestore (uncredited)
  • Jimmy Saul known as scanning and recording assistant manager (uncredited)

Release Date:

  • USA 22 January 2009 (Sundance Film Festival)
  • Germany 7 February 2009 (European Film Market)
  • UK 12 February 2009 (Glasgow Film Festival)
  • Lithuania March 2009 (Vilniaus International Film Festival)
  • Poland April 2009 (Off Plus Camera)
  • USA April 2009 (San Francisco International Film Festival)
  • USA April 2009 (Tribeca Film Festival)
  • USA April 2009 (Independent Film Festival of Boston)
  • Ireland 17 April 2009
  • UK 17 April 2009
  • Denmark 22 April 2009 (CPHPIX Festival)
  • USA 21 May 2009 (Seattle International Film Festival)
  • Germany June 2009 (Internationales FilmFest Emden Nordeney)
  • UK June 2009 (Berkshire International Film Fest)
  • USA June 2009 (Newport International Film Festival)
  • USA June 2009 (CineVegas International Film Festival)
  • USA June 2009 (Provincetown Film Festival)
  • USA June 2009 (BAM CinemaFest)
  • USA 20 June 2009 (Los Angeles Film Festival)
  • Australia July 2009 (Melbourne International Film Festival)
  • USA 24 July 2009 (limited)
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina August 2009 (Sarajevo Film Festival)
  • Canada 21 August 2009 (limited)
  • Germany September 2009 (Cologne Conference)
  • Canada 5 September 2009 (Meaford International Film Festival)
  • Hungary 10 September 2009
  • Estonia 18 September 2009
  • Finland 19 September 2009 (Helsinki International Film Festival)
  • Greece 25 September 2009 (Athens Film Festival)
  • New Zealand 1 October 2009
  • Netherlands 27 October 2009 (Leids Film Festival)
  • Sweden 30 October 2009
  • France 18 November 2009
  • Spain 4 December 2009
  • Greece 10 December 2009
  • Australia 21 January 2010
  • Denmark 18 February 2010
  • Lebanon 4 March 2010 (limited)
  • India 13 March 2010
  • Romania 23 April 2010 (B-Est International Film Festival)
  • Argentina 11 August 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Netherlands 15 February 2011 (DVD premiere)
  • Germany March 2011 (DVD premiere)



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , .


  1. sundevil27 from Salt Lake City, UT USA
    30 Mar 2012, 4:00 am

    Is it a work of fictional farce or an insightful view of the members ofthe governmental bureaucracy? Probably in truth, In The Loop is alittle bit of both, but more so its a whole lot of fun at thegovernments expense. There have been numerous films over the yearsgiving us insight into how our government works, at times it sure looksbleak and unjust, but we sure haven't seen it in such a ridiculousview. In The Loop aims at making sure they scrutinize the bureaucraticdesk jocks for all their worth. The film follows the Minister ofInternational Development (Tom Hollander) after he has put his foot inhis mouth, unintentionally announcing that war is unforeseeable. Backtracking and word-smith manipulations prove mute, fortunately for theMinister he's got big fans in the US who would like nothing more thento use the naive Brit in their political posturing. The hawks begincircling and before the Minister knows what game he's playing he's intodeep and merely a puppet in the political theater.

    There is a hint of a serious political thriller in the plot here, butIn The Loop knows we've seen all that before so why not have a littlefun, actually why not have a whole lot of fun and throw in lots ofscalding four letter words and absolute British wit. Tom Hollander asthe Minister of I.D. is dumb-foundingly perfect in his role and is wellcomplemented by his bungling assistant Oliver (played exceptionally byChris Addison). As the Director of Communications, Peter Capaldi stealsthe show with his relentlessly scathing superhuman vulgarity riddenwit. Those with a distaste for such colorful language should lookelsewhere as their ears will certainly be on fire if they can lastthrough a third of the film. Personally the language was not a problemfor me, I appreciate a master of the finer words, and Capaldi has shownhimself to deliver his lines with such craftsmanship that sailorsaround the world will be put to shame.

    The Brits are a fantastic mess, but of course what international messwould be complete without the United States Govt.. And so comes thebehemoth know as James Gandolifini, the Don Capo hasn't lost any of hison-screen presence. As the ol' war vet Pentagon General, Gandolfini isgruff and verbally abusive in a really mean spirited way, which isglorious. Those with a keen sense of cinema will notice how well thefilm shifts humor as the Brits come across the pond to the the dryhumor of America. Gandolfini makes the most of his screen time, but onthe American side the majority of the ridiculousness comes from MimiKennedy, as the Assistant Secretary of Diplomacy and her bickering 20something Capital Hill brown nosing assistants. Director ArmandoIanucci's delivers such a cynical sharp witted look at all thingspolitically ridiculous and it works on so many levels. Fans of Britishhumor will love this, its pureness to the form is perfectly meshed intothe political platform that moves the comedy along with merely a fewsmall bumps in the road. On the other side of the coin, those who enjoymaking fun of those of the diplomatic persuasion will delight in theroasting of our governmental members.

  2. the_rattlesnake25 from Sheffield, UK
    30 Mar 2012, 4:00 am

    One of the best political satirical comedies in years! 'In The Loop' isa spin-off (kind-of) of the fantastic British comedy 'The Thick of It',and follows Simon Foster (Tom Hollander), a Cabinet Minister who makesa series of unfortunate slip-ups, the first is when he tells aninterviewer that he believes war (always referred to as the invasion orthe war, but never Iraq or potentially Afghanistan) is "unforeseeable"before telling journalists under pressure that you have to conquer amountain of conflict on the path of peace. These mistakes place him inthe middle of a diplomatic mine-field as both, the anti-warconstabulary led by General Miller (James Gandolfini) and the AssistantSecretary of Diplomacy Karen Clark (Mimi Kennedy), and the gung-hosupporter of war Linton Barwick (David Rasche) – so crazy he keeps alive grenade as a paperweight – want Simon as a transatlantic partnerto support their cause. Should he put his conscience or his politicalcareer first? Oh, and throw in hilariously vicious Senior British PressOffice Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) and a bumbling Adviser to theminster (Toby played by Chris Addison) and you have one of the bestpolitical satires to come from Britain in years.

    What makes the film work so well is the incredibly sharp witty scriptfrom a collaboration of writers that keeps the gag-per-minute counterticking. Every meeting, confrontation political mishap is cradled withjoke after joke whether they are subtle references to the cynicism andunderhandedness in the current (or foregone) political climate orsimply one of Malcolm Tucker's fantastic rants – "I'm going to tear outyour shinbone, split it in two and stab you to f**king death with it" -at ineptitude of everybody around him. Every actor and actress involvedgive solid performances as the flawed members of the tense politicalworld. While Simon's central story keeps the film on the ground despitea few diplomatic detours (that are still hilarious, even though theytake up little of the running of time).

    Armando Iannucci has already proved to the British public that he cancreate entertainment for the TV-masses and 'In The Loop' proves he alsohas the skills to replicate this on a wider, international, big-screenscale as well. It's intelligent, it's offensive, and it's bleedingfunny. See this film!

  3. MovieAddict2011 from UK
    30 Mar 2012, 4:00 am

    In the Loop is an unusually good and funny film from a usually tepidand rather unfunny genre. After enduring an onslaught of mediocre filmscentered around the war in Iraq, 2009 seems to have finally broughtaudiences closer to cinematic resolution: first Kathryn Bigelow'sinvigorating The Hurt Locker gave us a fresh insight, and now this: arelatively lighter affair, to be sure, but one of such rapid-fire witthat a second viewing is almost required.

    In stereotypically British fashion, the humour is dry — you probablywon't experience many belly laughs — and yet selling it merely as suchseems like something of a disservice to its quality. Best described inone line as a blend of Dr. Strangelove, This Is Spinal Tap and theRicky Gervais Office series, director Armando Iannucci has parodied thelunacy of political disinformation and thoughtless rhetoric without hisfilm coming across as a laborious broken record or the mouthpiece of aninsufferable pacifist. No, you don't have to be a liberal to enjoy this(although I can't necessarily picture Bill O'Reilly endorsing it) —anyone with an appreciation for intelligent comedy, regardless ofpersonal views, should find something to admire here, and it'll be ashame if the picture isn't at least nominated for Best Screenplay byyear's end.

    The film is a spin-off of Iannucci's UK show The Thick of It, starringa couple of the same characters, and it presumably takes place duringthe days leading up to the invasion of Iraq (although, to be fair,we're never given the precise name of the country being targeted, northe date for which these events take place).

    The plot moves fast and some of the characters are hard to get a handleon at first, but it goes something like this: Britain's Minister ofInternational Development, Simon Foster (Tom Hollander), has a slip ofthe tongue while recording a live radio interview, admitting that anyinstance of war is "unforeseeable" and thereby perhaps even necessary —thus enraging the Prime Minister's Director of Communications, MalcolmTucker (Peter Capaldi in a scathingly brilliant performance). At thebehest of the PM, Tucker has Foster and his new assistant, Toby (ChrisAddison), shipped off to Washington, D.C., where they suffer a game ofpolitical discourse with a pro-war State Department official (playedwell by David Rasche). The film also features talented actors in minorroles: James Gandolfini appears in one of the film's most unexpectedlyfunny scenes, as a four-star general who computes the cost of ahypothetical war using a kids' toy calculator. ("At the end of a war,you need some soldiers left, really, or else it looks like you'velost.") Steve Coogan, whose wonderful Alan Partridge was co-created byIannucci, pops up in one of the more silly-minded sequences, as a manwith a bit of a wall issue.

    Though the film has achieved almost unanimous praise amongst critics,there have been some complaints, namely those of the NY Press' ArmondWhite. Usually I don't address the comments of other reviewers, mainlybecause I typically don't care, but also because everyone is entitledto their own opinion; yet I felt compelled to respond to White'sassertion that "Iannucci's sense of place is indistinguishable from TheOffice or The West Wing." The Office, sure, but The West Wing? Really?Did we watch the same film, Mr. White? That show's relativeglamorization of closed door politics could not be at more completeodds with In the Loop, both in style and substance. What's particularlyinteresting is that UK magazine Time Out did an article on the filmlast year, and even cited the movie's production design as being thepolar opposite of The West Wing's. Journalist Dave Calhoun wrote:"Iannucci tells me that he sees In the Loop as a cousin of The Thick ofIt. The similarities are everywhere, down to the docu-style, hand-heldcamera-work evident on the monitors (it's the same director ofphotography) and the anti-'West Wing' production design that throws allnotions of political glamour out the window." I mention this onlybecause it is worth pointing out the movie's heavy cynicism. ScreenInternational's David D'Arcy noted the film's untimely release: "Itsexuberant, boundless cynicism will test the demand for political satirein an Obama-infatuated America." I respectfully disagree — audienceshave never shown an inclination towards noting their countries' presentfailures, which would perhaps best explain why almost every singlemotion picture focused on the Iraq War since 2003 has been a box officeflop. Audiences flock to cinemas for escapism — not reminders. If timeheals all wounds, then perhaps this is the opportune time to release Inthe Loop: at a point when we can begin to take a step back and acceptthe humour.

    Regardless: this is a very sharp, decisive comedy, and certainly worthseeking out. The "instant classic" label is vastly overused, but it isperhaps not unforeseeable that this film may one day be for politicswhat Spinal Tap was for heavy metal.

    In other words: an instant classic.

  4. Nick Ondras from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 4:00 am

    Political comedy is a hard stunt to pull off. Ever since 1964, itseemed like nothing could top Dr. Strangelove. A lot of movies havetried and a lot have failed, although there were the lucky few thatpassed the bar (Election, Thank You for Smoking) but the brilliantthing about In The Loop is that it's so stupidly funny that it's one ofthe best comedies of the 21st Century! Armando Iannucci, most known forhis The Thick of It series in the UK, directs a movie with the a thefamiliar theme of The Office. That documentary-style of film-making canbe hit-or-miss (most recently, Public Enemies, a miss) and Iannuccihits it right on. Every scene he graces with a camera comes out pictureperfect; nobody could've pegged this movie any better. Iannucci, JesseArmstrong, Tony Roche and Simon Blackwell's script is something out ofpicture show heaven and sounds like it must've taken forever to finish,edit, revise, etc. Although these guys, these geniuses, apparently knowwhat they're doing and don't care what anybody else says. That is theheart and soul of movie-making, readers. In The Loop is about a corruptBritish government that accidentally gets the country thrown into themiddle of a war. Loop stars Peter Capaldi, Gina McKee, JamesGandolfini, Chris Addison and there's even a whimsical cameo by SteveCoogan. Capaldi is the absolute best at what he did, spewing swears ascoarse as they are a riot ("fuck you, you lubricated horse cock!") andfreaking out. I can't even put into words just how funny this guy was;he made the movie! But don't forget Addison as Toby. Addison is theBritish Napoleon Dynamite, that incredibly awkward guy that makes eventhe audience members turn red. James Gandolfini and Gina McKee roundout the rest of the cast greatly, filling In The Loop with the type ofsexual tension that you don't want to think about. It's like when a sexscene pops up on a DVD you're watching with your parents. Yeah, thatbad.In The Loop is one of the most laugh out loud comedies I've seen inthe past decade, that sadly nobody will get a chance to watch. In aworld of Transformers and G.I Joe, In The Loop will sadly be ignored.But on an optimistic note, we may have found this summer's sleeper,America.

    5/5 stars.

  5. jaredmobarak from buffalo, ny, usa
    30 Mar 2012, 4:00 am

    There is something about British comedy that resonates with me. I don'tknow if it is because we in the States experience so little of it, ormaybe because Hollywood rapes and pillages the material for their ownwater-downed versions, but the humor just seems fresh, uncensored, andhilarious. When I first came across the new political black comedy Inthe Loop, I will admit to being less than interested. The marketingmaterials were using the whole Obama silkscreen poster look and Ireally wasn't interested in a movie about how the US and Britaindecided to go into the Middle East. But then the buzz started. Therealization that the film was shot with a penchant for improv, a desireto entertain rather than teach, and a cast of characters looking asthough they are in a Christopher Guest movie, soon turned thatpreconception around. This is a fantastic film that never lets up onthe laughs or one-liners. I just hope people go into it knowing thatthis isn't how it actually happened … but then who knows? Sometimes thetruth is stranger than fiction.

    The back and forth dialogue is so quick that I couldn't believe my eyeswhen I read a quote from the director about it all being about 80-85%scripted. He says that he gave the actors leeway to break course andeven do takes without scripts at all, but when culling everythingtogether, most of what stuck actually maintained the verbiage laid outby its five screenwriters. Each of these men, including directorArmando Iannucci, has been working with British television and all havecollaborated on the show "The Thick of It". I will say now, if I get achance to check it out, I most certainly will. Political satire is notnecessarily my favorite thing in the world—I'll watch the odd "DailyShow" episode—but after viewing this laugh-riot, checking out a spoofon the British political system, of which I know very little, could bea ton of fun. Heck, just the inclusion of Peter Capaldi will get me tostop surfing when I reach the BBC. This guy steals the show withoutquestion.

    Capaldi plays Malcolm Turner, a Brit on the frontline of politics as anaide to the Prime Minister, spinning everything and anything to saveface. With no time to spare on his running across the Atlantic to putout fires wherever his compatriots start them, you will have to forgivehis abrasive, sarcastic, and just plain mean demeanor. The idea of waris being bandied about on talk shows, behind closed-door governmentalmeetings, and all over the media machine, and it is up to him to keep alid on it by walking the party line, neither stating a fight isinevitable or unforeseeable—two terms that the buffoon who is BritishSecretary of State for International Development Simon Foster, playedbeautifully by the ever capable Tom Hollander, loves to utter. Fosterjust has to open his mouth to cause a stir felt around the world, andeach time, of course, Malcolm Turner is there to chastise and humiliatehis stupidity.

    The film ultimately revolves around the journey Hollander's Fostertakes in trying to enhance exposure for himself. Partaking in talkshows or talking out of turn when enlisted to just be "room meat", someof the Americans begin to see him as someone abroad that shares theirsentiment that war is a bad idea. While David Rasche's Linton Barwick—ahardcore proponent of battle, even using a live grenade as apaperweight—forms secret committees to discuss strategies for war, MimiKennedy's Karen Clarke and James Gandolfini's Lt. General George Millerare looking for ways to get into that meeting and shut it down. As aresult, those two dissenters try to get Foster at every event toawkwardly express his stance of war being unforeseeable, hoping todeter any people on the fence that may be in attendance. So, Malcolmmust run back and forth through England and DC spinning things his wayand lambasting anyone that gets in his line of fire. Either Foster istoo oblivious to care about the verbal assaults thrown his way or hejust feels he can blame his Director of Communications Judy, who hemakes stay at home while he globe-trots with his new young adviserToby, (Gina McKee and Chris Addison respectively). Toby and Foster areso similar in their awe of America and lack of experience that theiradventures make for good cinema, taking camera phone pics out theirlimo and speaking about getting hookers for the ride.

    In the Loop is expertly acted and, for the most part, I have to creditthat to the intelligent script being utilized. Whether the actors areimprovising or not, the original text they are sticking to orspringboarding from needed to be strong. By using all the jokes andimbecilic actions we associate with politicians, the writers havecrafted a plausible, if not entirely idiotic, account of the daysleading up to our countries' joint invasion. Documents are leaked,words are twisted, and supposed partners are stabbed in the back. Butthrough it all we have Capaldi doing his best to keep Britain's stanceas noncommittal as possible. And, truthfully, the way in which he doesit makes for what has to be the funniest role of the year. Every wordout of his mouth is acerbic and full of double meaning. With the f-wordspewing at will and demeaning name-callings going left and right, makesure your head is clear if British speech sometimes troubles you in thecomprehension realm. Understanding his words definitely pays off,keeping what would otherwise be a slightly bloated and meandering plotgrounded in comedic excellence.

  6. C-Younkin from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 4:00 am

    The Big Questions: Can an adult comedy (i.e one without masturbation,anal sex, and talking genitals) attract people during the summerseason? Can director Armando Iannucci, known for BBC series "The Thickof It", adapt the series to the screen in "In the Loop"? Does thiswar-room satire bring anything new to war-room satires?

    Tom Hollander (the last two Pirates of the Caribbean movies) playsBritish Secretary of State Simon Foster, who in a radio interview saysthat war with the Middle East is "unforeseeable." The statement isenough to send the Prime Minister's chief adviser Malcolm Tucker (PeterCapaldi) into hysterics. The US President and UK Prime Minister arekeen on a war and Tucker wants to give it to them. In Washington,Deputy Secretary of State Karen Clarke (Mimi Kennedy) has learned of asecret War Committee formed by Linton Barwick (David Rasche) and shedispatches her secretary, Liza (Anna Chlumsky, yup, from 1991's "MyGirl"), to find out everything she can about it. Clarke and GeneralMiller (James Gandolfini) are against the war and are willing to doanything in their power to stop it, even inviting Simon and hisassistant Toby (Chris Addison) to Washington thinking that Simon mightbe usable. Just Simon is a clueless pawn without the slightest ideawhat he's doing. Other story strands center around an anti-war paperwritten by Liza, and an affair she has with Toby.

    The foolishness of government war-mongering is sent-up well by thisprofane and viciously over the top comedy. If you've read the severalbooks about the events leading up to the Iraq War, the constant anddisconcerting string of manipulation, deception, back-door tactics, andposturing for political career gain, as well as how they all think ofit as a game without consequences, incorporated by these underlingswon't shock you too much, but the laughs just might. Shot with ahand-held camera that brings to mind "The Office", these people runaround like chickens with their heads chopped off (some of which isvery hard to even keep track of) trying to win out over the other side.The fast pacing, profanely clever dialogue, and flying insults arerelentless. There are references to CNN being the Cartoon News Network,kids just out of college making big White House decisions, a sexualencounter for world peace, and a funny attack on a fax machine. Inaddition to turning profanity into a bodily function, characters(usually) shout pop culture references (John and Yoko, Kid fromEraserhead), and various other more derogatory names at each other.It's a tad excessive at times, but funny.

    Peter Capaldi is the key stand-out in the cast, being the mostover-the-top of them all. His obscene and excessively profaneperformance as the Prime Minister's lead guy is tremendouslyentertaining as he continues to verbally lay-out anyone he doesn't likeor that gets in his way with ridiculously clever barbs. Hollander doeswell with the role of the cluelessly spineless Simon Foster. JamesGandolfini and Mimi Kennedy each give strong performances, and ChrisAddison, Anna Chlumsky (its good to see her back by the way), and therest of the cast do nice work as well. Also look for Steve Coogan in afunny cameo as a "fogged off" Brit complaining about a wall.

    The Verdict: While excessive and hard to follow at times, Iannucci, andhis three other writers, create an adult satire that, while may not befor everybody, is pretty funny.

  7. David Ferguson ( from Dallas, Texas
    30 Mar 2012, 4:00 am

    Greetings again from the darkness. A spin-off of the British series TheThick of it, this film comes across as an odd mixture of DrStrangelove, Spinal Tap, The Office … think Christopher Guest remakesThe West Wing. There are some incredibly funny lines and therein liesthe films only problem.

    What prevents the film from being truly great is that the comedy linesare so well written (and acted) that the story itself is shoved aside.Kind of a shame because I love the basis for the story. Combining thepolitics of both the U.S. and England and weaving their process anddecision making into one film … and then backdropping the decision onwhether to go to war, is ingenious and fascinating. But as I said, thestory takes a real backseat and many viewers will pay scant attentionto the entire war theme. Watching politicians negotiate for power andstruggle with quotable (yet meaningless) phrases is a hoot. And theposturing is not limited to the power brokers, as we see theirassistants are playing the same game … just with less at stake.

    Ultimately the film works as an aggressive, loud, foul mouthed quotefest and not so much as the political editorial it could/should havebeen. Peter Capaldi dominates the film as the spin doctor who usesintimidation to mask his schemes. Tom Hollander would have been thesoul of the film, if it were better developed as a story. All willrecognize him from Pirates of Caribbean. James Gandolfini, MimiKennedy, David Rasche and James Gandolfini provide the U.S. contingencythat are deflatingly realistic and make us so "proud". Don't miss afunny turn by the great Steve Coogan as the poor citizen who just wantshis mum's retaining wall repaired so it doesn't crush her in thegreenhouse. While certainly not woven seamlessly into the film, it doesprovide a shot of realism for what Hollander's character would face.

    Lastly, it is very nice to see Anna Chlumsky back on screen. Animmediate child star in My Girl … remember her kiss with MaculeyCulkin? Ms. Chlumsky is now a mature presence and should definitely bea consistent actress for years to come.

  8. jesub from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 4:00 am

    Fast paced blend of close-to-truth political intrigue, satire, cleverbanter and intensity, with enough simplified and goofy humor to keepAmerican audiences shrieking with laughter. The LA festival audiencewas blessedly quiet through the more subtle and deeply clever humor, soif you have a pan-Atlantic sensibility you can laugh at the cleverlydone but obvious stuff, as well as the richer humor that requiresattention.

    The cast – American, English and Scottish all did an amazing job withhigh synergy.

    There is quite a lot of both obvious and subtle political and culturalallegory, homages, and oblique references.

    It was great to see it in a packed theater, and get that immersivesocial experience one does not get with a DVD.

  9. paul2001sw-1 ( from Saffron Walden, UK
    30 Mar 2012, 4:00 am

    Armando Iannucci's brilliant political satire, 'The Thick Of It', takesobvious cues from real events (and personalities) in British politics;and cooks these ingredients into a splendidly toxic broth personifiedby the character of Maclolm Tucker, spin doctor extraordinaire, the manwith the most inventive foulmouth on the planet. The other protagonistsare slimy, incompetent, self-serving; but part of Iannucci's genius isthat even as you hate them, you almost end up feeling sorry for them aswell, doomed to play their part in the political machine. It's abrilliant programme; what's even more unusual is the success of itsadaptation to the big screen. To make 'In the Loop', Iannucci hasdirectly addressed one of the biggest recent political stories, thesecond Gulf War, which also allows him to introduce a range of Americanarchetypes into his drama; as with his British characters, the mixtureof exaggeration, subtlety and sheer venality in their portrayals iswonderfully judged. And although wholly fictional, as an account of howcertain intelligence dossiers came to be faked, it's also whollycompelling and believable. Less surprisingly, many of the regular castfrom the TV series also feature in the film, although (Peter Capaldi asTucker aside) in slightly different roles. But there's no denying thebasic quality of the humour here; the title of this review,incidentally, is one character's description of opera. A film whichmakes you laugh or think as much is rare; one which does both issomething special indeed.

  10. davethejackal from United Kingdom
    30 Mar 2012, 4:00 am

    This is not a movie for those looking for the cosy delusional homiliesand self congratulatory tributes to politicians of something like YesMinister, it's vulgar, raw, enticing. An excellent comedy that neverlets a moment pass without something to amuse, whilst being painfullypoignant at the same time. In the build up to war, the UK governmentconspires to provide made up intelligence to the US to justify an actof war… sound familiar? Really, really, really funny and those whoclaim Yes Minister and it's ilk are superior, or more representative ofwhat goes on in the 'corridors of power', aren't living in the realworld. Critics who compare this to 'The Thick of It': remember, if thismovie includes the same characters it's obviously set before the eventsof 'in the loop', hence we might expect them to be more energetic,rawer and … well swear a lot. I'm not sure the pacing of TToI wouldhave worked in movie form and it's nice to see that the writers wereable to translate the basic idea to a successful movie, unlike so manyTV adaptations which have fallen flat on their faces.

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