In the Loop (2009) is a foul-mouthed political comedy told straight. This film is what you get if you take the parliament officials from the TV show The Thick of It, who are bumbling with enormous energy, and up the stakes to a vote on whether or not to go to war. We see the Prime Minster’s hellhound Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) unleash terror on the White House as he chases around his incompetent minister Simon Foster (Tom Hollander), who has accidentally announced waging war in a TV interview, despite his anti-war stance. Toby Wright (Chris Addison) is Simon’s new wingman and what you can imagine Thick‘s Ollie Reeder was like on his first day–he swoops in slick as hell and winds up Malcolm’s bitch. On the American side of government, a badly written report is creating quite a stir. The intern who wrote it, Liza (My Girl‘s Anna Chlumsky), sleeps with Toby, bollocking up his work biz. One thing is unsure: which side would benefit from this report leaking, and who is going to get their highly edited version out there first?
Besides some of the funniest dialogue you’ve ever heard (“Have you ever seen a film where the hero is a builder? No, no, because they never fucking turn up in the nick of time. Bat-builder? Spider-builder?”), In the Loop really benefits from its casting. You have the core cast of The Thick of It: Capaldi, Addison, James Smith, and Joanna Scanlan; you have the minor Thick characters who are now made major: Hollander as Simon, Paul Higgins back as “the most cross man in Scotland” Jamie, Olivia Poulet, Alex McQueen, and Will Smith; and great non-Thick stars like the late James Gandolfini, MirrorMask‘s Gina McKee, and a hilarious character role for Steve Coogan. Obviously I love the Thick core, but of everyone, I respected Tom Hollander’s portrayal as the minister the most.
You do not have to have seen The Thick of It to enjoy In the Loop. They are entirely separate. In fact, you’ll be less confused if you don’t see it because the only characters who are genuinely the same are Malcolm and Jamie. All the other actors are playing basically the same personalities but with different names and titles attached. However, if you are familiar with Malcolm Tucker and his infamous insults, you will especially appreciate him cussing into his cell phone outside the White House and getting stopped by DC tourists, and seeing him hold his own in the shadow of James Gandolfini’s war general character, George Miller.
In the Loop is on Netflix & Netflix Streaming, as well as on DVD, YouTube, and Amazon Instant.