Rewind Review: In the Loop


As those who know me, and if such a person exists, cyberstalk me, know I created this blog after writing on another site, which shall remain nameless, for a while. The point is, I have material sitting around waiting to be re-used on occasion I will re-post them here. Some of those articles or reviews may have been extemporaneous at the time but are slightly random now, hence the new title and little intro, regardless enjoy!

In the Loop (2009)

In the Loop is a film that starts out promisingly enough. A functionary of the British government is listening to an interview he did on the radio where he makes a seemingly innocuous comment on the odds of a war starting in the Mideast but ends up in hot water. The fallout especially from his boss Malcolm, played hysterically by Peter Capaldi, is very negative. He is assigned a press secretary who is to advise all his media interactions from that point forward.

Yet his comment has already started gathering attention such that he is asked for another and this one while confusing and noncommittal is taken as a war cry by many and gets them involved in an international game of intrigue between the U.S. and Great Britain.

The relations are complicated by the fact that two U.S. Senators (Mimi Kennedy and David Rasche) are battling on opposite ends of the spectrum for and against this war with their aids both also locked in rivalry.


Where the film starts to lose its way is when these entanglements all cross while it stays consistently funny on occasion coherence is lost on a couple of fronts. Examples: one of the major struggles of the film concerns the suppression or release of Aide Liza Wells’ (very well played by Anna Chlumsky) paper to the media. It was leaked but then edited and releaked – so wouldn’t conflicting versions obtained by the media exist? Even if one is released under a pseudonym the edits and/or similarities would be obvious. If the implication is that the governmental pressure on media nullified the first leak that was not made clear after all the BBC still had the “first draft” they just didn’t run with it. But why wouldn’t they?

Similarly our protagonist’s dismissal due to a dispute in his building over his constituency wall, that whole subplot and Malcolm not accepting his resignation only to fire him and not make him a “hero” were problematic and detracted from the overall effectiveness of the story.

While this is a satire it was inevitable that the fictitious war be approved the circumstances and evidence used to make it happen were too unrealistic even for a comedy and a satire which loses feasibility has no bite and is just silly.


That is a shame though because there is some great work done by the ensemble and some really funny dialogue which can’t support a story which ends up being flimsy, which can best be encapsulated in a quote by Shakespeare that it is a film “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”