Indie Feature: In the Loop

bill bodkin looks at the critically acclaimed, but little-seen british comedy

Simon Foster: Tobes, I don’t want to have to read you the riot act but I am going to have to read you some extracts from the riot act, like section one, paragraph one: don’t leave your boss twisting in the wind and then burst in late, smelling like a pissed seaside donkey.

Toby Wright: Look, alright, I was late for the meeting, Simon, I am sorry, but it’s not like I threw up in there, is it?

Simon Foster: No, you’re right, I’m being unfair. I should be thanking you for not throwing up. Well done, you’re a star. You didn’t wet yourself, did you? You’re in the right city. You didn’t say anything overtly racist. You didn’t pull your c*** out and start plucking it and shouting “Willy Banjo”. No, I’m being really unfair. You’d got so much right, without actually being there in the beginning of one of the most important moments of my career. Thanks, you’re a legend.

Normally, I hate starting any review with a quote, but here I felt it necessary. The witty banter that flies out at a profane mile-a-minute is what makes In the Loop, an absolute must-see. The stuff that flies out these wanky Brits mouths is at times jaw-dropping due to its graphic and profanely absurd nature as well as its spot on, cutting jabs it takes at the world of politics.

In the Loop is a mockumentary that captures the events leading up to the current Gulf War and how the innocent misquote from a mid-level British minister (a sublimely idiotic Tom Hollander of Pirates of the Caribbean) leads into a cross-continent tailspin of political wrangling, dis-information and mis-information and utter cluelessness. If one could be so bold, this film’s satirical moments do for Bush-era backroom politics, what Dr. Strangelove did for Cold War-era nuclear paranoia.

Sometimes the politics and double-dealings in the film can be a bit staggering, as the film’s climax races along at almost breakneck pace — forcing the audience to try and keep up with the plot and all jokes being thrown out there. But if that’s the worst part, keeping up with the seemingly endless arsenal of hilarity, one can’t find too much fault with that.

What also surprised me about this film, is that it’s actually adapted from a BBC series that is still currently on air. The show’s entire cast (outside of American actors like a terrific James Gandolfini and an excellent turn by former My Girl star Anna Chulmsky) are involved with the screen, albeit in different characters. That is except for Peter Capaldi who reprises his role as the profane, on the verge of homicide, scene-chewing politico Malcom Tucker. The stuff that comes out of his mouth is mind-blowing. It’s his voracious performance and his highly quotable lines that make him the true star of the entire film.

If you love British comedy or are looking a film that is teeming with smart, fresh and insightful comedy, then it is imperative to check out this true gem of a comedy.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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