Sunday, September 27, 2009

Movie with Abe: In the Loop

In the Loop
Directed by Armando Iannucci
Released July 24, 2009

Satire is often the best lens through which to examine politics. “In the Loop” is a sharp comic take on the often pointless way in that international relations are conducted. Its hero is a bumbling fool barely holding on to his office and shrewdly manipulated by those around him. His attempts to take on more responsibility himself are unsurprisingly ill-fated, but his exploits are certainly a lot of fun.

Tom Hollander stars as Simon Foster, and his short stature isn’t the only thing that allows people to hover over him and play him like a puppet. Foster’s lack of knowledge about anything ever going on is wonderfully conveyed by the talented Hollander, who displays doubt and desperation on his face with an eternally puzzled look. His loyal companion, Toby (Chris Addison), adds to the confusion by confounding every situation with a crucial misunderstanding of how politics should be played. It’s Toby’s first day on the job at the start of the film, but somehow Foster’s been employed for a while without much incident. “In the Loop” is only a snippet from Foster’s career, but an intriguing snapshot of how quickly and easily a fall from grace can occur. The rather inane, futile bantering between Hollander and Addison is what makes the film so effective and funny.

Spotlighting the relationship between the United States and England without making direct reference to one specific conflict (though obviously allegorical) is a clever way to poke fun at and expose the way things work without pissing off too many of the wrong people. “In the Loop” is based on a previous British television series featuring the character of Malcolm Tucker, and it’s impressive how he’s incorporated into the fray here without serving as the primary character. Peter Capaldi is terrific in his supporting role, and keeping him in the loop was certainly a good decision. “In the Loop” doesn’t come to any grandstanding conclusions besides the fact that the way politics work is problematic, but it’s great fun while it lasts, and seeing angry British people yell at each other never produces a dull moment.


Watch the Minute with Abe here.

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