With the high profile election of Barack Obama and recent spate of British Government cock-ups, information leaks, and scandals left, right and centre, though politics has never waned in importance, you could argue it has never been more in the public domain. A spin-off of the multi-award winning 2005 BBC political satire series The Thick Of It, In The Loop hopes to cash in on our interest in all things governmental with a new witty take on daily state affairs, with series creator Armando Iannucci returning to direct and co-write alongside his original team, and they’re on form once more.
Focussing on the prospect, or lack thereof, of war, In The Loop scales beyond merely the British Government and examines Anglo-American relations with bumbling MP Simon Foster (Hollander) in the spotlight. Buckling under the pressure of a radio interview and then a scampering on-street press gang, Foster, enrages the Prime Minister’s press co-ordinator Malcolm Tucker (Capaldi) with a series of ill-advised quotes. With America catching wind of Foster’s ineptitude in front of the press and how his unfortunate statements could add great leverage to their own stance on War, he is invited across the pond to Washington DC, only for his trail of destruction to follow as Tucker struggles to keep the damage under wraps.
Superbly retold and boasting a refreshingly intelligent script, In The Loop somehow proves just as entertaining and even more funny than the original TV series. If a film needs to make you laugh six times to fill the minimum comedy quota, In The Loop does such in the first 20 minutes, with at times a laugh a minute, and minimum once every five. But unlike countless other funny film, the comedy doesn’t undermine or sell-out the intelligence and wit embedded in the incisive current affairs story.
An easy-going side story involving Steve Coogan and a collapsing wall give a little relief from the main narrative, but each time it jumps back, you’re happy to be on board.
No one member of the cast lets the film down, but it is undoubtedly Pete Capaldi that steals the show. Portraying the brash and loud Malcolm Tucker, who if left in a room for five minutes, would get into an argument with himself.
Accessible even for those not interested in politics, In The Loop is easily the funniest film of the year so far, and to boot, one of the most intelligent.