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In the Loop (2009)

Things Are About To Spin Out Of Control

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 106 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15


When you think of a political thriller you might normally picture walking suits talking at machine gun speed about issues that are above the station of the average pleb. Watching a new Clooney movie or The West Wing is a bit like a visit to a computer repair shop or the mechanics and often you like it even though you have no idea what’s it’s actually about. Armando Iannucci’s ridiculous take on the workings behind the government, no matter how ridiculous it is, seems to be more realistic and much easier to follow.

A war is brewing with the guys at the top of the US and UK government hell-bent on invading an unnamed country no matter what anyone else thinks (sound familiar?). The unassuming British Secretary of State for International Development, Simon Foster gets involved after accidentally coming out against and then in favour of it. Simon and his bumbling aid (Addison) are invited across the pond and suddenly find themselves with a lot of friends in Washington wanting to use the naive British politician as a pawn in their game. Malcolm Tucker (Capaldi), a foul-mouthed British government attack dog, follows them to try and see the pro-war agenda through whilst trying to stop an anti-war general (Gandolfini) and Assistant Secretary of Diplomacy (Kennedy) from putting a spanner in the works.

Armando Iannucci’s been writing political satire for years on his British hit TV show The Thick of It so he’s got the snappy political comedy down to a tee. The politics is done in such a way that it neither insults the audience nor goes over their heads and it fits into an engaging story which comes to a satisfying climax. He also shows his understanding of the modern state of British-American comedy relations as the Americans are more dry-witted and quietly amusing where as the British are either highly incompetent or very, very loud.

The casting is perfect with Peter Capaldi stealing the show as Malcolm Tucker – the Shakespeare of expletive ridden tirades that show amazing originality and never get old. Unfortunately, I can’t repeat them here as I have to think of my fanbase of 16-year-old Christian girls. There are so many other supporting characters and interesting relationships to deliver laughs and move the story on, like the bickering interns (Woods and Chlumsky) and Simon Foster who is shown to be a cowardly idiot but with glimpses of what got him into his position in the first place.

It's Got: Some of the greatest expletive-filled rants you will ever hear, great characterisation and relationship building, funny and serious combined well

It Needs: A fondness for swearing

DVD Extras Over 20 minutes of bite-sized, worth-watching deleted scenes, fairly uninteresting interviews and a trailer - a mixed bunch DVD Extras Rating: 6/10


A political comedy for the masses that’s funny, clever and pitched just right. Definitely don’t watch if you’re offended by harsh language but, In the words of Malcolm Tucker, Christ on a bendy-bus. Don’t be such a f****** faff arse.