Saturday, August 8, 2009

In the Loop: war of 4-letter words

Melbourne International Film Festival 2009

In the Loop is a very enjoyable, well made spin off from the British TV series The Thick of It. Like most top British comedy it relies primarily for its humour on dialogue rather than visual gags.

Leader in this arena is Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker the U.K. government's Head of Communications. He is a foul-mouthed bully whose spew of offensive, sarcastic invective is unparalleled. He's a bully who harasses all around him.

The diminutive British Secretary of State for International Development, Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) is another Pythonesque character whose droll one liners seem lost on his underlings. His new press officer Toby Wright (Chris Addison) has more than a professional interest in his U.S. opposite number Liza Weld (Anna Chlumsky) and slides down a steep learning curve on his first visit to Washington D.C.

It's a simple plot. U.S.President and U.K. PM want to go to war in the Middle East. The man to deliver this is master spinner Assistant Secretary Linton Barwick. David Rasche as Linton gives us some wonderful Donald Rumsfeld moments. In a War Committee meeting he asks the participants to imagine that a glass of water is a shoe. Mimi Kennedy as Karen Clarke does a competent job as his foil.

James Gandolfini, of Sopranos fame, adds his considerable weight to the anti-war forces in the role of General Miller.

When the film was introduced at MIFF 09 it was described as a mixture of Monty Python, The Office and Yes Minister. It certainly lived up to this accolade with lots of laughs throughout.

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