In The Loop (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner15/04/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 105 mins

Sharply written, impeccably acted and frequently funny political satire, though it's hard to shake the nagging feeling that it's closer to the truth than we'd like to think.

What's it all about?
Directed by Armando Ianucci, In The Loop is a big-screen spin-off of TV's The Thick of It, starring Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker, the Prime Minister's Director of Communications and spin doctor extraordinaire. When Junior Minister Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) makes an off-the-cuff remark about the possibility of war in the Middle East, his comments are seized upon by Washington, sending Tucker into a frenzy of damage control.

Foster and his team (including Chris Addison as Toby) are swiftly dispatched to Washington with Tucker breathing heavily down their necks the whole time. Amidst various political manoeuvrings from both pro- and anti-war factions, Toby tries to schmooze an intern (Anna Chlumsky) for her critical anti-war report and Tucker finds himself asked to generate an intelligence dossier for hawkish Secretary Linton Barwick (David Rasche), ahead of a UN vote on the case for war.

The Good
Capaldi is sensational as Tucker (loosely based on Alistair Campbell), playing him as, essentially, a foul-mouthed hurricane in a suit. There's also strong comic support from Addison (playing the same character as in the show, only renamed, less sarcastic and on his first day), Hollander, Chlumsky, James Gandolfini (as an anti-war General) and Steve Coogan as a frazzled voter who's angry that Simon's constituency office wall is about to collapse into his garden.

The script is fast paced and frequently funny, providing you like swearing. Ianucci also makes brilliant use of his Hollywood names – you spend the whole movie waiting for the confrontation between Tucker and Gandolfini and when it comes, it doesn't disappoint.

The Bad
That said, the humour is slightly tempered because it's impossible to watch the film without the nagging feeling that it's all depressingly close to the truth.

Worth seeing?
In The Loop is a sharply observed, frequently funny political satire that will delight both fans of The Thick Of It and newcomers alike.

Film Trailer

In The Loop (15)
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Content updated: 23/09/2018 19:22

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