Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Streaming Spotlight: In the Loop – Movie Review

It’s good to know satire about political dysfunction is always topical.

In the Loop starring Tom Hollander, Peter Capaldi, Chris Addison, Anna Chlumsky, Mimi Kennedy, James Gandolfini, and directed by Armando Iannucci. In the Loop is a political satire about the leadup to a war between the United States and an unnamed Middle Eastern country. This 2009 film is obviously meant to make fun of the events leading up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The movie is fast paced and extremely well written. I had a smile on my face for the duration of the film. Fans of Veep should check out the movie because it has the same vibe, probably since the director was the creator and showrunner for the first four seasons of the show.

The writing of the script is the star of the film. It is fast paced and if you blink you might miss a quip or sarcastic phrase meant to poke fun at a character or situation. Not one single main character in the film is likeable in the end. Each is horrible in one form or another, and are only looking out for themselves in the end. It’s what makes politicians and those who work for them so loathed by the general public. These individuals are only looking out to extend their careers, instead of doing what is right. When they do make a stand in the film it is only because they have been backed into a corner or it serves their political end game. The movie perfectly captures this aspect of the characters and the decisions they make forces the story into hilarity. The planning for the war is founded on lunacy. The story has the perfect amount of satirical whimsy and it’s not a stretch to think some of these hyperbolic scenarios happen to a lesser extent in real life.

While each character in the film is reprehensible the performances are fantastic. Peter Capaldi as the foul-mouthed communications secretary steals the movie. His tirades are hilarious and perfectly integrated into the movie. The way his character maneuvers within the story is also well done. When he is on the ropes politically in the film he finds a way to weasel out and come out on top, or just to save his skin. What he does is horrible, but it works for the movie. Chris Addison and Anna Chlumsky are the main staffers to the politicians in the film. They are trying to move up or just keep their bosses in line so they continue to have a job. Neither of them in the long run is very likeable due to their actions, but they are probably the most relatable and sane characters in the film. The other standout is James Gandolfini who has a smaller role but he steals the screen every time he is in a scene. His character doesn’t want to go to war, but still talks tough to those around him. His one scene with Peter Capaldi was the highlight of the film. Tom Hollander is an actor I’ve started to notice pop up with more frequency lately. He’s great in everything I’ve seen and he was good as the bumbling politician who can’t seem to get out of his own way. The movie truly is an ensemble film with nearly everyone doing a great job.

The only downside to the movie is some of the jokes fall flat, and their might have been just a few too many clever insults in the story. They never get tiresome, some just don’t land as well as others do in the film. I can see some not liking how the film is shot. It’s similar to a long episode of television and might throw some off with its style. I personally didn’t mind because of the story being told, but I could see it being a complaint for the movie. The fact ever character is unlikable  also might be a complaint.  There isn’t anyone to root for, and all the characters make bad decisions. This is one of the things I found most enjoyable about the movie, but I could understand not liking the fact there is no true hero to the story. There wasn’t much not to like about the movie, and I could see myself watching it again because of how well the story is told.

In today’s political climate sometimes it’s good to just laugh at the sheer lunacy of it all. In the Loop provided this for me with how everyone is basically faking it until they make it in the story. If you have Netflix and enjoy great satire give it a watch. If you are a fan of the television show Veep I would think this is a must watch. I’ve only watched a few episodes of the show but like what I have seen, and think I might binge through it all because of my enjoyment of this movie. Let me know if you have seen In the Loop and what you thought of it. If you haven’t is it something you might check out? Like share subscribe and all that fun stuff. 

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