Packed with more scathing satire than any other movie from 2009 and more profane wit than any other movie in a long time, In the Loop is an uproarious send-up of the miscommunications that pave the road to war. Based on its laugh quotient, In the Loop far surpasses all comedies from the past year, and the sheer comic brilliance that just keeps coming scene after scene ensures it a lofty position in the film satire pantheon.
Insecure British Secretary of State for International Development, Simon Foster (Tom Hollander, Valkyrie), is at the center of the kerfuffle when he makes an off-the-cuff remark in a radio interview that war in the Middle East is “unforeseeable.” This makes him a popular figure across the pond where plenty of top American officials are hungry for a war, but not so much in his own office, where his foul-mouthed boss, Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi, Torchwood), reams him at every turn and is desperate to get Simon to stick to the script.
Soon, Simon and his new aide, Toby (Chris Addison, The Thick of It), are on their way to Washington. Simon has aspirations of grandeur, but soon finds his visit of little importance among American officials, including an anti-war American general (James Gandolfini, Where the Wild Things Are) and an assistant secretary (Mimi Kennedy, Man in the Chair) who are trying to stop the push to war.
About the only issue where Simon’s opinion is valued is in the case of a collapsing wall near the home of an irate constituent (Steve Coogan, Night at the Museum 2), but Simon can’t even handle this one correctly.
In the Loop could’ve easily gotten bogged down in its extensive exposition that weaves the complicated tale of misunderstandings and embarrassments, but every scene crackles with razor sharp dialogue that is so densely layered it’s impossible to catch every joke. At the same time, the story is deftly advanced with each scene, emphasizing the inevitability of the film’s outcome.