Monday, February 08, 2010

Best of Black Sheep: IN THE LOOP

Written by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Arnando Iannucci and Tony Roche
Directed by Arnando Iannucci
Staring Tom Hollander, Chris Addison, Anna Chlumsky and James Gandolfini

Michael Rodgers: No, you needn’t worry about the Canadians; they’re always happy to be there. They’re always surprised to be invited.

Pretty much everyone knows what it means to be in the loop and naturally, pretty much everyone wants to be there as often as possible. When it comes to the political players of British comedian, Arnando Iannucci’s first feature film, IN THE LOOP, people are falling in and out of the loop several times an hour. To watch them all scramble makes for two hours of absolutely hilarious political satire that not only exposes the buffoonery of both the American and British governments but also exposes the harsh realities that come to existence because no one seems to know what they’re doing.

That isn’t quite fair. Everyone in IN THE LOOP seems to know what they’re doing, well mostly. They’re just doing everything for their own gain without any regard for the people who elected them to be there. This isn’t exactly a revelation but the language in which Iannucci lets us in his own personal loop is certainly pretty close to revelatory. Never before have I heard such inspired, outrageous dialogue. For instance, I have never heard anyone referred to as a lubricated horse cock before. If you can handle the dirt, then IN THE LOOP will pull so many laughs from your gut that you will feel as though you have been doing crunches the entire time you’ve been watching it.

IN THE LOOP tells its own version of how the United States and Britain convinced (or conned, depending on how you want to see it) the United Nations that they could go to war in Iraq despite their objections. Granted, they are still there and people are dying so perhaps we shouldn’t be laughing this hard but that’s the great thing about satire when it is done right. It is not only sharp, brilliant and hysterical but it is also a scathing condemnation on war profiteering and personal gain at any expense. Iannucci has plenty of experience with the topic, having produced the British show, “The Thick of It”, which IN THE LOOP is based on, and he uses his expertise to cut through the superfluous so that he can kick hard where it truly hurts.

It pays to be those in the know. When the potential of the Iraq war was being talked up all over the news and Washington, those of us sitting at home were frustrated because we were simply not in that particular loop. We were being fed certain stories that were being used as justifications and even though none of it seemed to be based in any fact, we had to accept it for what it was because there was no way for us disprove any of it. IN THE LOOP finally gets us in there, even though it is making it all up as it goes along. That’s the funniest part though; they were making it all up back then too.


Sam Turner said...

I really enjoyed this. I think Iannucci wants us to laugh but then immediately wants us to think about why we are laughing and I think he accomplishes both brilliantly. The script, as you rightly say, is fantastic and Peter Capaldi stole the show.

With The Iraq Inquiry in full flow at the moment (in Britain at least) and various politicians struggling to give a coherent and universally accurate story, this takes on extra relevance.

Black Sheep said...

It certainly is one of the most biting satires I've seen on the Iraq war. And it is precisely because of its genius humour that it has the potential to get its point across to many a person who avoid films on the subject to begin with. I hope very much that more people see this.

He Said She Said said...

We watched this film recently to revew on our own blog (should be up next week and we were suprised by how much we enjoyed it.

The film has such a relevance not just because it is based on the Iraq war justifications but because of the spin doctor culture it highlights.