Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in IN THE LOOP, directed by Armando Iannucci for Optimum Releasing.

In the Loop (2009, Armando Iannucci)

In the Loop is a spin-off of a British show… I didn’t know about that connection when I watched it. I guess it doesn’t matter, since In the Loop is–apparently–something of a prequel. The show’s called “The Thick of It,” for those interested.

Now, where to start.

In the Loop is, without being specific with names, about the rush to the Iraq war in 2003. As an anti-war film, it’s probably the most effective one I’ve seen about that war, because it portrays the people behind it as self-serving and callow. It’s hilarious. It’s also rather depressing when one realizes the state of government, but it’s definitely funny.

As really funny–and here’s where In the Loop gets a lot of laughs–is a Scotsman swearing. The film opens with Peter Capaldi and this torrent of obscenities just starts rushing from him. A lot of his particular insults are well-written, but it’s Capaldi’s performance–that accent–is still the most important part.

He’s not really the lead in the film, but the film doesn’t really have one so maybe he’s the closest it does have.

It sort of opens and closes with Chris Addison’s career, but he’s so unlikable after a certain point, it’s hard to call him a protagonist.

The best performances are from David Rasche (a standout), Tom Hollander, Gina McKee, James Gandolfini, Mimi Kennedy (another standout) and Steve Coogan.

It’s great.

But it’s sad the British cast Americans better than Hollywood.

3/4★★★

CREDITS

Directed by Armando Iannucci; written by Iannucci, Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell and Tony Roche; director of photography, Jamie Cairney; edited by Anthony Boys and Billy Sneddon; music by Adam Ilhan; production designer, Christina Casali; produced by Kevin Loader and Adam Tandy; released by Optimum Releasing.

Starring Anna Chlumsky (Liza Weld), Chris Addison (Toby Wright), David Rasche (Linton Barwick), Gina McKee (Judy Molloy), James Gandolfini (Lt. Gen. George Miller), Mimi Kennedy (Karen Clark), Olivia Poulet (Suzy), Peter Capaldi (Malcolm Tucker), Steve Coogan (Paul Michaelson), Tom Hollander (Simon Foster) and Zach Woods (Chad).

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