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The Best of 2009: 'In the Loop'

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In the Loop

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A colorful comedy that might go down in history as one of the best political satires of the last decade. It can be very difficult making a comedy focused on the issues of a looming war considering how unfunny that is generally, but somehow the makers of In the Loop have achieved this with a hilarious ferocity and an effective dose of commentary. Of course, one of the most famous films tackling this very subject, with stunning effectiveness, is Stanley Kubrick's 1964 tour-de-force, Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. One might notice that both Strangelove and In the Loop feature a remarkable consistency in realistic settings. This may be one of the best ways to sell a war comedy: by making the audience think, at first, that this could be the God honest truth.

These normal surroundings become a great balance to the constant onslaught of colorful metaphors that these political figures begin slinging at each other. Again, if it weren't for the fact that these actors are working in real functioning offices, conference rooms, and in front of the actual White House and 10 Downing St., none of this dialogue could seem believable. The whole screenplay is based around various political figures working only a couple steps under the Prime Minister of the UK and the President of the US. All do not see eye to eye on the current case for war (obviously a reference to the events preceding the 2003 invasion of Iraq). These generals, ministers, aides, senators, secretaries, and even interns make very logical cases for war and against war, but the humor of the matter comes from the aforementioned wave of insults everyone throws at each other. Some are so descriptive that it makes me wonder how long the writer took to think it up.

Peter Capaldi has the honor of giving the film's best insults, and nearly steals the entire film as an obscene image consultant. James Gandolfini also makes a memorable appearance as an overly cynical, but honorable general that stands firm on his positions, whether they may be relevant or not. In the end, their names will all be "Mud" by the time the blame game is over. In the Loop's script written by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Ian Martin, Tony Roche, and by its director Armando Iannucci deserved its Oscar nomination for Best Screenwriting.

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