In the Loop (film)
|In the Loop|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Armando Iannucci|
|Produced by||Adam Tandy
|Written by||Jesse Armstrong
|Edited by||Ant Boys
UK Film Council
|Distributed by||Optimum Releasing
|Running time||109 minutes|
|Budget||£612,650 (UK Film Council contribution)
In the Loop is a 2009 British satirical black comedy directed by Armando Iannucci as a spin-off from the BBC Television series The Thick of It. The film satirizes Anglo-American politics in the 21st century and the Invasion of Iraq. It was nominated for the 2009 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
In the film, the UK and the U.S. are both on the verge of possibly launching a war in the Middle East. The plot follows government officials and advisors in their behind-the-scenes efforts either to promote the war or prevent it. The film stars Peter Capaldi, Tom Hollander, Gina McKee, Chris Addison, and James Gandolfini.
The President of the United States and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (both unseen in the film) are hinting at a military intervention in the Middle East. During a radio interview on BBC Radio 4's PM programme, Minister for International Development Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) accidentally states that a war in the Middle East is "unforeseeable". The Prime Minister's enforcer, Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) scolds him and tells him to toe the line of intervention. Joining the department on his first day, Simon's new aide Toby Wright (Chris Addison) manages to get him into the Foreign Office meeting that day through his girlfriend Suzy (Olivia Poulet), who works there. Leading the meeting is the US Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomacy Karen Clarke (Mimi Kennedy), who is against military intervention and flags a report by her assistant Liza Weld (Anna Chlumsky) titled "Post-War Planning, Parameters, Implications and Possibilities" (PWPPIP). The report heavily opposes intervention, noting the lack of intelligence except that which is coming from the source "Iceman". Also during the committee it is hinted at that the US Assistant Secretary of State for Policy, Linton Barwick (David Rasche), may have set up a secret war committee. After the meeting Simon is ambushed by reporters and contradicts his previous statements by saying the government has to be prepared to "climb the mountain of conflict." Malcolm again scolds him for making too many waves.
Returning to the US, Karen and Liza figure out that Linton has created a war committee under the guise of Future Planning. At a party Karen teams up with General George Miller (James Gandolfini), who opposes the war as the US hasn't enough troops to succeed. She tells him that she intends to use Simon as a "meat puppet" to back them up in opposing the war. While on a fact-finding mission in Washington, Simon and Toby are invited by Karen to the Future Planning committee. Toby accidentally leaks the details of the meeting to a friend at CNN before meeting up with Liza, being an old acquaintance of hers, and later sleeping with her. Due to Toby's leak the Future Planning committee is swamped, but Karen and George fail to find out anything about the war. Both Karen and Linton turn to Simon to back their respective causes, but he blunders and fails to take a side. In the meantime, Malcolm, also in the US, is diverted by Linton to the White House for a fake briefing. He is later told by Linton that he has to supply the US with the British intelligence on the situation in the Middle East, which he does not do.
Back in the UK, Simon attends a surgery in his constituency of Northampton, where he is harassed by one constituent, Paul Michaelson, (Steve Coogan), over a wall in his mother's garden, which is on the verge of collapsing. News of this reaches the papers, who criticise Simon for not acting on the issue. Suzy finds out about Toby's affair with Liza and they break up. When leaving their apartment he gives her a copy of PWPPIP to leak if she chooses, but she calls him a coward for not doing it himself.
The President rushes forward the security council vote on military intervention, by vetoing tariffs on Chinese imports. Despite being invited along by the Prime Minister, Simon tells his Director of Communications Judy Molloy (Gina McKee) to send out hints that he'll resign if the committee votes in favour. The press runs with the story, and Simon quickly begins to resent it. Once at the UN Headquarters Malcolm gets word that PWPPIP has been leaked, making a yes vote unlikely. It is later revealed that Michael Rodgers (James Smith) of the Foreign Office accidentally leaked it, not realising its importance. Malcolm convinces the UK Ambassador Jonathan Tutt (Alex MacQueen) to push the meeting forward so the leak won't have time to spread in the US. However, Linton asserts his dominance over Malcolm by telling him that the British intelligence has to be handed over before a vote can be taken. Unable to make Jonathan reverse his changes and delay the meeting, Malcolm, with the help of the Foreign Office, fabricates the details of PWPPIP by removing all the arguments against intervention and presents it as the intelligence. Subsequently the committee votes in favour of intervention.
After the vote, George informs Karen that he isn't going to resign now that the war is happening. Simon realises his resignation from the Cabinet is inevitable, but before he gets the chance to do so Malcolm fires him over his failure to prevent the collapse of Paul's wall, which he managed to make a headline on BBC News. He also tells Simon that he cannot take any sort of stand on the war anymore as he has contradicted himself too many times. As the credits roll Simon is shown carrying out mundane constituency business and the new Minister for International Development comes to office.
Several actors from The Thick of It appear in the film, including Peter Capaldi, Chris Addison, Paul Higgins, James Smith, Alex MacQueen, Olivia Poulet, and Joanna Scanlan, and also, in very small roles, Samantha Harrington, Eve Matheson, and Will Smith. The only characters from the show, however, are Malcolm Tucker (Capaldi) and Jamie McDonald (Higgins), with brief appearances by Tucker's secretary Sam Cassidy (Harrington) and journalist Angela Heaney (Lucinda Raikes). The other Thick of It actors who appear play new characters, albeit very similar to the ones they portrayed in the series. Likewise, Anna Chlumsky went on to portray a similar but nominally different character in the subsequent American series, Veep.
The new actors in the mix include Tom Hollander (who went on to appear in one episode of The Thick of It), Gina McKee, and a roster of seven American actors including James Gandolfini, Mimi Kennedy, and David Rasche. Previous Iannucci collaborator Steve Coogan also appears.
- Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker, Director of Communications for the Prime Minister
- Tom Hollander as Simon Foster, Secretary of State for International Development and MP for Northampton.
- Chris Addison as Toby Wright, Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for International Development
- Gina McKee as Judy Molloy, Director of Communications for the Department of International Development
- Mimi Kennedy as Karen Clark, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomacy
- Anna Chlumsky as Liza Weld, assistant to Karen Clark
- James Gandolfini as Lieutenant General Miller, Senior Military Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Defense
- David Rasche as Linton Barwick, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Policy
- Enzo Cilenti as Bob Adriano, Linton's second.
- Paul Higgins as Jamie McDonald, "the crossest man in Scotland," Senior Press Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister
- James Smith as Michael Rodgers, Director of Diplomacy, Foreign Office
- Olivia Poulet as Suzy, civil servant at the Foreign Office, and Toby's girlfriend
- Steve Coogan as Paul Michaelson, an aggrieved constituent of Simon Foster in Northamptonshire
- Zach Woods as Chad, junior staffer at the U.S. State Department
- Alex MacQueen as Sir Jonathan Tutt, United Kingdom Ambassador to the United Nations
|“||It's exactly the same format as used in The Thick of It. Armando holds it together in the middle. Simon Blackwell, Tony Roche and I meet him then come up with the story line. Us three go away and do the storyline then send it to Armando to be okayed and do the initial drafts. Then Ian Martin does additional material and rewrites as well. So it's a five-man team but all broken down into different compartments. It never feels unwieldy.
Once we had the storyline mapped out with Armando, each of us took an act each, if you think of it as a three-act movie. I had the first crack at the first act, Simon at the second and Tony at the third. We looked at them all, Armando gave us notes and we did another rewrite and passed them around. It's not like one person does the plot, one does the jokes and one does the politics, but we all have our different strengths.
Noting that The Thick of It had been inspired by the Blair government's attacks on the BBC in the wake of the Iraq war, the magazine Cinema Scope described In The Loop as "The Thick of It's "origin story," a retelling of the chain of events that inspired Iannucci to devise the series."
In an article for The Guardian Iannucci wrote:
|“||At least two people told me that Condoleezza Rice was a bit rubbish. She got rather star-struck in Washington and never really stood up to Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Both of the [Pentagon and CIA] guys I met said: "And, as a result, people got killed." The CIA guy added: "And that's what really pisses me off!"||”|
Iannucci has stated: "We don't go up to White House level, we deal mainly with state department underlings, the kind of people that actually make decisions with enormous political consequences."
Filming and release
In the Loop was a collaboration between BBC Films and the UK Film Council. Filming took place between May 2008 and December 2008, during a lengthy hiatus between The Thick of It's second season (which aired in the autumn of 2005) and its third (which aired in the autumn of 2009, after the release of In the Loop).
|“||The similarities are everywhere, down to the docu-style, handheld camerawork evident on the monitors (it's the same director of photography) and the anti-West Wing production design that eliminates all notions of political glamour.||”|
|“||In the film I was finishing, we featured a motorcade. We had some police standing by to add authenticity. We started rolling, but could never get up a decent speed because of the traffic lights at each block. Then one of the police leant into the car and said: "D'you want me to turn my siren on? That'll let us through all the red lights." It worked and it was also quite exciting.||”|
The world premiere was held at the Sundance Film Festival on 22 January 2009. The European gala premiere screening was held in the independent Glasgow Film Theatre as the opening of the 2009 Glasgow Film Festival on 12 February 2009, attended by Iannucci and members of the cast. The film was released on 17 April 2009 in the United Kingdom. The film was picked up by IFC Films for distribution in the US, and began screening on 24 July 2009. Later in the year, The Thick of It returned to the BBC for a belated third season.
Critical reception to the film's premiere at the Sundance Film Festival was positive. Damon Wise, writing in The Times was particularly complimentary, giving the film five stars, stating "It's hard to settle on a standout element because it's all so outstanding, from the performances to the one-liners to the plot." Screen International's David D'Arcy was complimentary, but noted that the release of the film may be poorly timed, given the new presidency of Barack Obama, stating "its exuberant, boundless cynicism will test the demand for political satire in an Obama-infatuated America." Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune put the film as #9 on his top ten list of 2009.
- UK Film Council awards database, . Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- Box Office Mojo Retrieved 2011-01-10.
- Xan Brooks, Iannucci's Iraq war satire lauded at Sundance in The Guardian, 21 January 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- Wolf, Ian. "In the Loop". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 2009-03-07.
- Jeremy Kay (2009-01-23). "Sundance 2009: In the Loop puts rest of the fest in the shade". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- Dave Calhoun. "Set visit: 'In The Loop' with Armando Iannucci". Time Out. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
- Pul Higgins interview: Guilt-edged success by Jay Richardson, 8 November 2008. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- "Writing In the Loop" ClashMusic.com 27 October 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- Cinema Scope » Features | The Road to In the Loop: British Satire-Sitcom-Cinema. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- "" The Guardian 22 March 2009. Retrieved 2013-06-21.
- Vanessa Thorpe, "Star of British TV satire set to conquer America", The Observer, Sunday 11 January 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- Peter Capaldi gets into The Thick Of it for Armando Iannucci movie in The Times, 6 May 2008. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- Set visit: 'In The Loop' with Armando Iannucci, Time Out London, Sunday 11 January 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- Armando Iannucci, Step right up to Politicsville, USA, The Observer, Sunday 15 June 2008. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- Interview with Cannabis Corpse Metal Underground 27 October 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- How to succeed in Hollywood without really trying by Spencer Ackerman guardian.co.uk, 23 July 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- Armando's Loop gets Sundance premiere, on Chortle.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- In the Loop at the Sundance Film Festival website, 16 January 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- http://www.glasgowfilmfestival.org.uk/programme/show/250[dead link]
- In The Loop Blog:Home, . Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- In the Loop at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- Damon Wise, In the Loop at the Sundance Film Festival, Utah, The Times, 21 January 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- David D'Arcy, In The Loop, ScreenDaily.com, 20 January 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- In the Loop, Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-11-11.
- 82nd Academy Award Nominations, Official website. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: In The Loop|
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- In the Loop: Oscar-Nominated Comedy Satirizes Lead-Up to U.S.-U.K. Invasion of Iraq - video by Democracy now!