|Week 11: In The Loop
||[Apr. 14th, 2009|05:51 pm]
The Independent Film Forum
The next film up for discussion in The Independent Film Forum will be In the Loop. Did you enjoy it as much as the satirical smash series The Thick of It or did Armando Iannucci's humour fade at feature-film length? Did adding the US political element into the mix work? Add your comments below and we'll print the best in the newspaper next week.
Here's the trailer...
Here's a flavour of what Anthony Quinn had to say about the film in his review for paper:
"Magnified on the screen that sense of hilarious intrusion is lost. The corridors of power, whether in Washington or Whitehall, look terribly drab, and the actors seem dwarfed by the space. Attempting to justify his big-screen graduation Iannucci summons a couple of star performers. Steve Coogan plays a borderline nutter who happens to be a constituent of Simon's in Northampton, while James Gandolfini is cast as a US general reluctant to go to war. It's not a convincing part for the one-time Soprano, though he does get a very funny scene when he tries making a calculation of army numbers posted to the Middle East – on a child's adding machine. Oddly, you can imagine it happening.
Wrested from its televisual habitat, however, it all looks very stretched: we are in The Thin of It. And despite Tom Hollander's pleasantly bumbling performance, Malcolm lacks an object truly worthy of his scorn. To be honest, I missed what Chris Langham brought to the failing minister of the TV series, not just the standard idiocy of the breed, but the insecurity, the laziness, the inability to think beyond his own survival in office."Over to you. Time to have your say...
I've just been to see this, mainly in response to the Guardian's 5-star review. I don't necessarily believe in reducing criticism to marks out of 5 but if I did, 3 would be generous.
I was confused as whether the film is set in 2003 or now. If it's set in 2003 then references to Youtube, which didn't exist, and Brokeback Mountain which hadn't yet been filmed and so wouldn't have been widely known, are anachronisms. If it's set today then the world has moved on and the plot is out of date.
Also, is it an attack on MPs or civil servants? There are few MPs in it so you could say that by their absence they're being criticised but if the film-makers had wanted to do that they could have done a much more devastating hatchet job on Blair than they have done here on Campbell and others.
Much of the comedy is forced, relying largely on swearing and over-acting and not too original. You can only laugh so often at someone doing their nut. There were some subtle jokes that I seemed to be the only one in the cinema to laugh at but then a lot of them laughed at the Lynx ad. Some of it is funny but it comes over as having been written by someone trying to be the British Woody Allen but falling well short.
But don't let me put you off going unless there's something really worth seeing instead, like Pickpocket which I stupidly missed to see this. I haven't seen the TV series but it does come across as an over-stretched joke as many films based on TV series have been. I suppose it keeps the contentiousness of the Iraq invasion in people's minds so if for that reason alone then go along.
2009-04-18 09:52 am (UTC)
He who cannot be named
Congratulations Mr Quinn. Of all the reviews I’ve read, you are the only critic who has mentioned the excommunicated Chris Langham. Regardless of the nature of his crimes, Mr Langham was a very talented performer and has a considerable amount of work that deserves viewing. I find it disturbing the way he has been thrown to the dogs and anything he appeared in has ‘disappeared’, regardless of its quality. I also find it ironic the way Mr Iannucci, who has been crowing about how brave his satire is on taking on taboo areas, is obviously still afraid of one thing – especially, no doubt as it might be personally career-threatening. Chris Morris wasn’t.
2009-04-18 05:55 pm (UTC)
I don't want to be in the loop, thanks
If toe curling becomes an Olympic event, put me down as a strong contender for winning Gold as I have just had two hours intensive training. I have just watched 'In the Loop'. This biting satire has got teeth so sharp, it makes 'Jaws' look friendly. The script is so far beyond the knuckle that it is almost impossible to enjoy - there can be no mirth in a film so miserably Machiavellian. Notwithstanding the fog of blue that the dialogue attempts to transcend, like its predecessor, 'In the Thick of It', the cynicism is gut wrenching. Malcolm Tucker, the cod-eyed and calculating Vulcan-on-acid is still trying to pull everything together, he is still lambasting the hapless Simon Foster who still has all the social graces of a slumbering snail; Toby, the nonentity in a suit (who by some quirk of fate missed his vocation as an estate agent) is still hanging around and now Gina McKee has been brought in as another stooge for the growling gargoyle. If this is being in the loop, I am happy out of it.
A great movie; likely to be one of the best British made films of the year. Visually I thought it suffered slightly in the switch to the big screen - it looked a bit small. But that was one of the few quibbles.
It was really funny and very biting in its targets. The writing and acting was really strong. In the first half, the humour shines but I liked how gradually it seemed genuinely angry and even by the end, there was a sense of sadness to the whole thing - anger and sadness at how politicians and their spin-men can shape the world to their (ill) will
In The Loop is as frightening in it's depiction of the relationship between the media and politics as it is hilarious. While it's scary to consider the possibility that there may well be a few real life Malcolm Tuckers knocking around the corridors of power, it's hats off to Iannucci for some great lines, making the film for my money the best British comedy of the last few years.
Good for you guys mentioning Chris Langham.
I too was a fan - and I was terribly sorry to read of what brought him down - but I too dislike the way he has become in media terms an unmentionable non-person (ditto Michael Barrymore) - and I would welcome some understanding, some appreciation of what he's done so wonderfully for years, and a little rehabilitative support. I don't like paedophilia (who does?), but I'm not sure we ever really got Chris's side of that sad story.
Apart from all that, am looking forward to seeing the film!