Sunday, December 12, 2010

In The Loop

I generally don't like "Comedies". This statement is still under evaluation based upon the large number of exceptions to the rule that have been cropping up. In the interest of fair and balanced reporting I refuse to take the short route out by branding this film "Satire" and not "Comedy."

"In the Loop" is, in fact, one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time. It is the story of the run-up to the Iraq War (2) from the British side, looking in at the inner workings of the 'Empire" and the kids across the pond that seem to be leading the dance.

"In the Loop" is a  behind-the-scenes look at Diplomats, their aides, and staffers that was perfectly timed for my viewing in these weeks of cable-gate courtesy of Wikileaks. Like the Sopranos episode that mirrored real life with the pair of FBI Mob assassins, In the Loop is a fiction that lays bare the clumsy and frustrating dance of international relations, domestic press, and personal foibles.

The UK government is skewered as hard as the US Government, from a uniquely British perspective. Like the LeCarre portrait of Ollie North in "Tailor of Panama" the caricatures ring true. The acting is spot-on, the writing sharp and irreverent with nary a nod to the fourth wall.

The camera is zoomed chaos, flitting about between abrupt scene changes, swooping and panning to catch reaction shots and details crammed into the lightning paced narrative. Nooks and crannies of the foreign branch are illuminated, backdoor dealings get teeth once the action gets to Washington, and all of this is wrapped in a "keep up if you can" take no prisoners screenplay.

Gandolfini proves once again more than capable of the role, I am thinking of his turn in "Perdito Durango" and the Redford film with the upside down flag who's name escapes me atm. The actor's prize in this ensemble piece has to go to Peter Capaldi, the Scottish press guy with a mouth like a machine gun firing depleted Uranium whenever he opens it.

I came late to the party on this film, overseas as I was when it was released, but this film is still relevant, wickedly funny and damn good entertainment.

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