Political satire can be hit or miss, but Armando Ianucci's too-oft-forgotten 2009 film In the Loop brilliantly skewers both British and American politics. By creating an ensemble rife with self-important buffoons, ambitious sycophants and bumbling idiots, Ianucci effectively questions the intelligence of America's decision to go to war in the Middle East.
British Minister of International Development Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) does not support the idea of a war in the Middle East. However, due to a couple of poorly thought out and contradictory statements that stray from the country's party line of a neutral stance, Foster becomes both the pawn of an anti-war Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomacy, Karen Clark (Mimi Kennedy), and the butt of jokes for the British press. Foster and his assistant Toby Wright (Chris Addison) proceed to follow a path of ill-advised if well-intentioned decisions in their push for peace, relevance and likability. Meanwhile, Malcolm Tucker, Director of Communications for the Prime Minister (played by a foul-mouthed Peter Capaldi) and Assistant Secretary of State for Policy, Linton Barwick (David Rasche), look to foil them and push their own agendas at every turn. James Gandolfini and Anna Chlumsky also star.
Although the film is shot in New York, the U.K. and Washington D.C., the D.C. scenes succeed in getting the character of the city as accurately as the characters who work within it. In addition to portraying ambitious ass-kissing underling (Zach Woods) and the over-worked, hyper-stressed assistant (Anna Chlumsky) to a tee, the movie includes the conversation that every native has had with visitors about what they should do. In this case, Karen Clark and Liza Weld (Chlumsky) recommend visiting the Air & Space Museum and eating at La Taverna. Plus, this movie does not just film the obvious downtown landmarks but also heading to 14th Street and Woodley Park for a realistic sense of where the characters in these positions would live and hang out.Read More