Film #34 of 2010 - In the Loop
If In the Loop hadn't been nominated for an Oscar for its screenplay, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have heard about it, at least for quite some time, and that would have been a complete shame. Directed by Armando Iannucci and starring a bevy of random British, Scottish and American actors, In the Loop follows the behind-the-scenes frenzy that occurs among lobbyists, spin doctors and politicians when the U.S. President and British Prime Minister decide that they want a war in the Middle East, but the people who work for them and are more in the know are less convinced that this is a good idea and frantically try to convince the right people of this, sometimes with reason, sometimes with bribery and threats.
When I looked up Iannucci's filmography, it didn't surprise me that he is primarily a writer and director of television programs and not feature films. In the Loop has the dryly clever humor of a British sitcom, but is able to sustain the fast pace normally reserved for a 30 or 40 minute episode for the length of the entire film; an admirable feat. The actors are a Who's Who of "Hey, isn't that...?" ranging from a lead character like Tom Hollander (Mr. Collins from Pride & Prejudice) to supporting players like Anna Chlumsky (My Girl, but all grown up) and James Gandolfini. All of them were natural and funny, and there were many times where the film almost felt like a documentary or a behind-the-scenes look at what we normally aren't able to see. And something tells me that it's all probably spot on, which is terrifying and depressing all at once.
There are a lot of really hysterical moments during In the Loop, and the script is extremely edgy and heavily peppered with the F-bomb, so much so that after a while it just seemed natural to me. Again, there is no doubt in my mind that this isn't how people REALLY act in politics. In the Loop is a dry film, but it's funny and really good, and worth seeking out.
3.5 out of 5 stars