In the Loop (2009) (R)
"In the Loop" feels like a much more vulgar and political version of "The Office" when it first begins. The typical camera zooms and unsteady handling are somewhat defining of the 'mockumentary' genre of film. Although it tries and it gives us enough anger to make it work, near the end it dissolves into preachiness and over-performing.
There are two places where "In the Loop" takes place, the UK and the USA. Our story is told mainly in England where various men and women in political office are jumping through hoops and over ropes in the political system to try to get one or another thing done. What sets off this adventure tale is Simon Foster going on a radio show and being surprised with a question about war. When he flusters it sets the rest of our players up for starting a war, which apparently both the President and the Prime Minster would like.
It's clear from the beginning that "In the Loop" is a satire but what you fail to realize until the end is how scathing it really is. It's nasty, brutal, and harsh.
As far as dark comedies go I think that "Little Miss Sunshine" holds the position as the one of the best. "In the Loop" tries to be funny but really starts to fall apart with its screenplay.
Malcolm Tucker is kind of a watch dog. He tells Simon what to say and what not to say and he's very angry all the time. The barrage of profanity that spews from his mouth makes "Goodfellas" look like a kid's movie. But unlike Joe Pesci, Peter Capaldi as Tucker doesn't pull it off. It starts to become old and I began to wonder if the script had anything but curse words in it.
What I didn't like about the movie were the offices that everyone held. There were too many and they were too jumbled and in the end I still have no idea who everyone was. A filmmaker has to assume that his audience is stupid, because in this area I was completely helpless.
The British people are witty and quick witted, even with their vulgarity, and the Americans are more likely to make cultural and pop references for their jibes which I found funnier than their counterparts.
"In the Loop" has some very funny parts, most of which involve offenses in quick writing.
Near the end of the film you suddenly realize that nothing has happened this entire movie. There's no place it really goes and when it finally gets to the place that it wants to, it dissolves into a horrible scene of preachy politics. It's not very flattering of government or any sort of legal system.
One thing that it fails to do is feel intelligent. It starts to feel like the writers were just trying to vent and created these characters. When the addition of a character named Jamie comes along who is a larger version of Tucker, he can scream louder and make dirtier comments, it began to feel like a stupid script. Anyone can write insults and curses, but not everyone can make a Voltaire effort at satire.
The best part of "In the Loop" was Tom Hollander as Simon Foster. He's precise and sometimes keenly funny.
The other actors (whether this was their fault of that of the writers/director) all collapse into sweaty scenes of rage and swearing.
Because of its lack of direction and obvious political vendetta, I started to get angry with "In the Loop". What started out as funny and inventive soon shrivels into nonsensical insults and heavy handed statements. It should have had a better brain.
Score: 2 and a half stars out of 4
Posted by Micah Jones