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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sly, Clever, Dark and Witty
A cousin piece (though apparently a pseudo-prequel) to the political satire series, 'The Thick Of It', In The Loop cynically covers both the British and American political systems. British Spin and American power-housing is on show as a Health Minister calamitously finds himself in the midst of a vote on a potential war in the middle east.

Peter Capaldi, James...
Published 19 months ago by S.E. Haughton

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 stars -- Capaldi saves a rather unfocused satire
3 1/2 stars -- there'a a lot of energy here, and if you like a broad caricature of a bullying PR man, Peter Capaldi will fill the bill. I don't think that there's any character in the movie, British or American, who isn't at some time or another chewed out in profane and scatological terms by Capaldi's character, Malcolm Tucker, who as "Director of Communications" for the...
Published 1 month ago by Stanley Crowe


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sly, Clever, Dark and Witty, 24 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: In The Loop [DVD] (DVD)
A cousin piece (though apparently a pseudo-prequel) to the political satire series, 'The Thick Of It', In The Loop cynically covers both the British and American political systems. British Spin and American power-housing is on show as a Health Minister calamitously finds himself in the midst of a vote on a potential war in the middle east.

Peter Capaldi, James Gandolfini, Anna Chlumsky and Paul Higgins are the stars as the PM's Spin Doctor Malcolm Tucker, General Miller, Liza Weld and Jamie McDonald.

The film isn't a laugh-a-minute special; you have to be able to see between the lines and understand the slyness that occurs regularly throughout, though the more abrupt moments do bring about some bellyaching laughs. In The Loop is very much like an extended, international version of an episode of 'The Thick Of It'; there isn't a killer ending to the film which may give the viewer a feeling that the finish is quite blunt yet slow coming.

Contrary to the protests of professional politicians, you very much get the impression that the film nails the sleaze within politics and just how much the public is allowed to know, as well as just how desperate people can be to climb to the political landscape.

If you are a fan of 'The Thick Of It', this is a must-buy. If you're not aware of the series or just haven't seen it, or are simply knowledgeable of politics, then again I would recommend buying it as you will probably enjoy the satire on show and will want to explore the series further.

Oh, and expect swearing, ;-)
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92 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In The Loop, 18 Jun. 2009
By 
C. MacLellan (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: In The Loop [DVD] (DVD)
Prior to the release of In The Loop, Alastair Campbell said the film portrayed politicians and their advisers as crass and venal, which had never been his experience whilst in government. Then on the eve the film's release, Smeargate hit (I know, it sounds messy), with the expenses scandal to follow a few weeks later, proving that politics was indeed crass and venal. Iannucci 1 Campbell 0.

On the eve of `a war' in the Middle East, Minister for International Development Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) accidentally states that war is "unforeseeable". This ambiguous statement is seized upon by both the hawks and doves in Washington, with each seeing Foster as their poster boy. On hand to clean up the...mess, is the Prime Minister's spin doctor Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi).

In The Loop is effectively a stretched out version of Iannucci's award winning television series The Thick of It., but one of the only characters linking the two is Peter Capaldi's ferocious government spin doctor Malcolm Tucker. Loosely based on Alastair Campbell, who claims Tucker is nothing like him (the gentlemen doth protest too much methinks), Capaldi's is an absolute joy to watch, as he spits fury at the bumbling government officials, both elected and unelected. Roughly every third word which comes from Tucker's mouth is a word you'd never use around your mother, but the writing is so intelligent, that it's impossible not to laugh as he spits fury.

Despite portraying Her Majesty's government as blundering fools, the rest of the British cast put in strong performances. Tom Hollander's government minister is the perfect example of the new generation of career politician which currently fills the government benches, and Chris Addison's Toby continues this in his role as a government adviser...despite being younger and significantly less experienced than the minister who he his advising.

When the storyline pops across the Atlantic to Washington D.C. and New York, the film does loose it's way slightly, as British audiences will naturally relate more to their own corridors of power and officials than they do those in the US. This doesn't mean that the US cast are left wanting for material, with some of the best jokes coming from the American counterparts, such as when James Gandolfini's General Miller adds up troop numbers on a child's computer.

Despite the drop in pace, transferring the action to the US is essential, as it exposes the real `special relationship' which exists between the two countries - America leads whilst Britain follows. Even when he travels to the White House and the United Nations, the force ten hurricane that is Malcolm Tucker finds himself pushed towards the periphery.

What makes In The Loop all the more brilliant is that once you've finished laughing at the superb performances and Iannucci's razor sharp script, you'll realise that the political world portrayed in the film is all too similar to our own, and that if this is how the world is being governed, we're all up the preverbal creek without a paddle.

The Verdict
Political satire of the highest standard - In The Loop definitely gets my vote!!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the loop - Great film, 13 Sept. 2011
This review is from: In The Loop [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Bought this after watching on tv. Armand Ianucci seems to turn everything he touches into gold. I cannot recommend this enough if you like political satire.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Climb The Mountain Of Conflict..." - In The Loop on BLU RAY, 6 Sept. 2014
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: In The Loop [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
When Britain's staggeringly inept Minister of International Development gets interviewed on Radio (a fabulous Tom Hollander as Simon Foster) - in between his babble about strides made with diahorrea - he rather stupidly seizes the opportunity to score some brownies points for himself by answering a question on American Military intervention in the Middle East. Knowing nothing about anything four miles past the pier at Margate - Simon spouts out the first sound bite that comes to mind. He says in his pint-sized wisdom that 'war' is merely "unforeseeable".

Milking the obvious gaff and nondescript word - the media goes apes***. But his monstrously foul-mouthed and fearless boss Malcolm Tucker who was listening to the broadcast in his offices (Peter Capaldi in full-on f-word fire-spitting form as Britain's Minister for Communications) wants to string Simon up by a part of his anatomy that you really shouldn't touch. Then at a policy meeting involving American Pentagon types and 10 Downing Street lackeys - Simon once again stumps up more inane wordage when name-checked by the American powerbroker Karen Clark who is heading the meeting (a superb Mimi Kennedy). His ability to sully International diplomacy seems to know no bounds - because outside on the pavement when he's cornered by a canny TV crew about his "unforeseeable" comment - he really dips his feet into a vat of political excrement when he tries to talk his way out it with more beatnik-gibberish by saying "...to walk the road of peace sometimes we must climb the mountain of conflict..." Something needs to be done. So Simon and his bickering worker bee assistant Toby Wright (the ever impressive Chris Addison) are sent to America on a 'fact finding' mission. Naturally things can only get worse - and with any luck for the US Military manipulators - escalate into all out war...

The first thing you notice about "In The Loop" is the stunning acidic script - ball-breakingly funny, observant and sharp like a knife through a knob of rancid ministerial butter - its genius keeps coming at you in scene-after-scene and is tearful precisely because 99.9% of it is true. Throw in a troop of truly fantastic British and American actors relishing every delicious UN-PC second of it (the much-missed James Gandolfini and David Rasche are particularly brilliant) and you're going to laugh and wince a lot.

The BLU RAY picture quality is fabulous - defaulted to 1.85:1 Aspect ratio - the print fills your entire screen and is never anything less that spot-on. And the clarity slyly adds to the feeling of observing 'real time' madness while the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio gives the voices a chilling in-your-face immediacy. Subtitles are English and English for the Hard Of Hearing. The UK BLU RAY has exclusive interviews and Commentary with Writer Director Armando Iannucci and actors - Tom Hollander, Peter Capaldi, Chris Addison and Gina McKee. There's a Trailer, Webisodes, Deleted Scenes and a Script to Screen Comparison features also.

In the horrifying times we find ourselves in - and with political correctness and cowardice seemingly poisoning every TV station - the world and frankly democracy itself 'needs' stuff like this. Besides any movie that has the lines -"...we'd like the presence of carbonated and non-carbonated water..." gets my vote.

"In The Loop" is the very best kind of political jabbing and like "Four Lions" deserves a place in the pantheon of modern-day satire masterpieces. Own it and thank the Gods for a sense of humour.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great film - not a classic but a very enjoyable watch, 18 Aug. 2009
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This review is from: In The Loop [DVD] (DVD)
After watching this film recently I'm quite surprised to read the 1 star reviews that have been posted here on Amazon. The film may not be a five star classic but I would have to guess that the one star reviewers may have not entirely "got" the film. I can't really understand that given that the plot is relatively straightforward and its made clear who all the characters are.

If you like Armando Ianucci's work in general, then this is a must have - he has done a superb job here with this film. Great political satire. According to Ianucci, John Prescott stated that the Scottish PR guy was "just like Alistair Campbell". And as for the committee plot seeming unrealistic, apparently it is actually what Dick Cheney did with a Future Planning committee in real life.

If you're not familiar with Iannuci's work you might not enjoy this as much but I'd be shocked if the majority of people watching this film were as unhappy with it as the one star reviewers so far. Try the trailer and if it interests you, this film is recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding satire, 7 July 2009
By 
Martyn - See all my reviews
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This review is from: In The Loop [DVD] (DVD)
I agree with those praising this film. It's well-constructed, boasts many fine performances, and has plenty of laugh-out-loud lines. The characters are briliantly written and fleshed out, from the ambitious amoral special adviser (Chris Addison); through the international development minister; his senior civil servant (Gina McKee in top form); and of course the Campbell-like (oh, yes he is, Alastair) Malcolm Tucker.

But despite the humour, I came out of this film feeling all-too-depressed at the extent to which it mirrored the way things actually happen when the people at the top are unprincipled, and anybody foolish enough to show any morals is scathingly pushed aside as a 'woolly liberal' or somesuch.

Funnily enough it's the interplay between two of the American characters that gives us one of the most cynical moments in the film, but this works no less badly for it - I suppose I was luckier than some for knowing a bit more about how the US system works, but thought it worked well to have those scenes, no matter how much they were there to sell the film stateside.

It may sound like exaggeration, but I rate this film as a modern Dr Strangelove, which truly exposes the way wars and many other disastrous policies are decided upon in so-called democracies.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Over-the-top political satire, 22 April 2010
By 
Dennis Littrell (SoCal) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: In The Loop [DVD] (DVD)
I don't know how funny this would be the second or third time around, but it was pretty funny the first. What we have is the run-up to an invasion of an unnamed Middle Eastern country with the focus on American and Brit governmental operatives as some advance the program and others try to stop it. It's an over-the-top satirical comedy, a kind of burlesque version of the real run-up prior to the invasion of Iraq.

Tom Hollander stars as a nice boy minister who wants to stop the war train. Peter Capaldi plays some kind of Brit gov attack dog with a bad case of coprolalia who enjoys nothing more than humiliating subordinates and the occasional Yank as he salivates about the marvelous maiming and killing to come. David Rasche plays Linton Barwick the American Secretary of...well they don't say, but it would be Defense. Rasche has the voice and mannerisms of the real Secretary of Defense during the Iraq War (Donald Rumsfeld) down pat. Rasche's parody of the ultimate micromanaging war-nit was for me the highlight of the movie.

There's a nice comedic take on the relationship between Karen Clarke, who plays an American assistant secretary and her intern played by Anna Chlumsky resulting in a lampoon of polticos running helter-skelter as they go about managing the ship of state.

Everything is lickity-split. The dialogue comes at you like water from a fire hose, and everybody is just drunk with nerd-gov power. There is a certain truth behind the sexually demeaning expletives coming out of just about everybody's mouth, revealing a kind of repressed macho that is the dream of persons in positions of petty power. The script and the improvs by the actors set a new high water mark in the creative use of not only the f-word but in the expression of the myriad ways one can get really hosed in various orifices.

Anyway, "In the Loop" is good for a one-time viewing with many laughs and some insight into the stupidities of our glorious leaders and their staffs.
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3.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 stars -- Capaldi saves a rather unfocused satire, 2 Mar. 2015
By 
Stanley Crowe (Greenville, SC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: In The Loop [DVD] (DVD)
3 1/2 stars -- there'a a lot of energy here, and if you like a broad caricature of a bullying PR man, Peter Capaldi will fill the bill. I don't think that there's any character in the movie, British or American, who isn't at some time or another chewed out in profane and scatological terms by Capaldi's character, Malcolm Tucker, who as "Director of Communications" for the unnamed British Prime Minister, undertakes to keep everyone on message -- and that means keeping even cabinet members from definitely NOT ruling out the possibility of military action in the Middle East. When Simon Foster (Tom Hollander), the British Cabinet Secretary for International Development, says in response to a reporter's question that war is "unforeseeable," Tucker is all over him. It's soon clear that the powers-that-be, both in Washington and in London, are expecting, and even wanting, a war to be undertaken, and the meat of the story is how resistance to that idea, especially in Washington, is overcome by middle-level and lower-level officials, with Tucker in the thick of things, cracking the necessary heads. There's a broad difference in the ways that Americans and British political figures are represented in the movie: in America, there seems to be a desire on the part of some in government to avoid war, while in Britain, the issue seems to be rather with just not messing up what the PM has already decided. In both places, some of the humor derives from the naked careerism of all involved, so that affairs of great importance seem to be being resolved in terms of office politics rather than global politics. For example, a good deal of humor is derived from one character seeking to organize a committee meeting and keep that a secret from other characters who suspect that the innocuously named committee is really a "war committee" -- so meeting places and times are shifted in ways that belong to a sitcom like "The Office," even though events of global importance are on the table. There's also a concern with the leak of a report, and later the rewriting of that same report, all carried out with no regard at all for the opinions and reservations of the writer of the report.

But does it add up to a well-focused satire? I'm not so sure. The crucial decisions have been made by characters we don't even see, so what we do see is the process of getting these decisions implemented. Sycophancy, egotism, and careerism are rampant in the "middle management" level where the process is being played out, but at no point do we feel that war is being undertaken BECAUSE of sycophancy and careerism on the part of aides and junior officials. There's a good deal of local humor in the process, but not a consistent target of serious satire. Capaldi is the engine who drives the process from the British side and makes his presence felt in Washington too, and the pleasure of the movie is seeing him in action. There's a funny little sidebar that reminds us that British Cabinet Ministers are also Members of Parliament -- so that Foster, while trying to undo the damage from his "unforeseen" statement, has to go home to his constituency and face the wrath of Paul Michaelson (Steve Coogan), a constituent who is angry because his neighbor's wall is collapsing into his Mum's garden and his MP, Foster, doesn't seem to be helping out with this problem. It's a nice cameo by Coogan, and on the American side, there's something more than a cameo from James Gandolfini as a General who doesn't seem to know much about war and doesn't seem keen to fight one, but rather likes to think of himself as "the Gore Vidal of the Pentagon." Other actors do good work -- Anna Chlumsky is Liza Weld, the assistant to the American Assistant Secretary of State Karen Clarke (Mimi Kennedy) whose report is leaked after a bizarre series of events in Britain that are prompted by Foster's aide's girlfriend discovering that her boyfriend Toby (an effective Chris Addison) has tumbled into bed with Weld while accompanying Foster to negotiations in the US. So a dimension of family drama is added to the office politics that take up most of the movie. And it isn't an accident that the only reasonably competent person, Judy Molloy (Gina McKee), is maneuvered out of her job as Foster's aide by Toby and therefore has to watch or hear about the confusions and turbulence in the US from a distance.

Sounds complicated, and to a degree it is, but the plot-lines and motivations are clear, and the overall tone is set by Capaldi's Tucker, who ignites the movie with raucous, profane energy whenever he is on the screen. When he isn't on screen, the movie works more fitfully. Still, it's not too long, and it isn't totally mindless, and if you don't expect really pointed satire, then you'll find it quite enjoyable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sweary fun for all the family (well... maybe not, but fun for some), 3 Jan. 2013
By 
Albatross "Never argue with idiots" (Suburbia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: In The Loop [DVD] (DVD)
If you like good political comedy then you should have become aware of the BBC TV series `The Thick of It.' However, if this has escaped you then it's probably best to stop reading right now and go and watch it. The bottom line: if you like The Thick of It then you'll like In the Loop.

It's basically the same animal, or a `compendium piece' as I've heard it described. Whereas The Thick of It stayed in Britain, In the Loop also takes us to America where we see that U.S. politics is just as jaded and back-stabbing as its U.K. counterpart. The British Prime Minister and the American President fancy starting a war. The only problem is that there really isn't a good argument for starting one. Therefore, America enlists the help of Downing Street's legendary `Enforcer' (or `Director of Communications' to give him his correct title) Malcolm Tucker (perfectly played, as usual, by Peter Capaldi) to come up with some `evidence' which supports the upcoming invasion.

Sounds familiar? Well, it should. It's a case of art (sadly) imitating life as comparisons with George and Tony's handling of the invasion of Iraq are evident for all to see.

It may not sound like an ideal source for comedy, but, handled well and you'll be cringing at one political mess after another. In fact, politics is probably better this way. At least these politicians are meant to be funny and entertaining. Their real life incarnations cause as many problems, but don't give us any good laughs along the way.

The only thing you need to know (if you watched the TV series first) was that only Malcolm Tucker remains the same character. All the other regular faces from the TV show are there, but they play different characters (that confused me the first time I saw it, but eventually I got used to it!).
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best comedy in years, 19 Jun. 2009
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If you don't like swearing, don't buy this film.

But for everyone else, who want a brilliant comedy, with brilliant laughs this is for you. Do not be put off by political comedy, it is so much more, it can be damn right filthy at times (although not necessarily a bad thing) but still delivers perfect nods-of-appreciation satire and send up of the glamour of American politics compared to English, and the bumbling-sometimes horrifying reason to start a war. It's full of lines that you will quote for the rest of your life.
I cannot recommend this film and the TV series on which it is based (the thick of it) enough, this cannot be missed.
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