In the Loop (2009)

(On DVD, January 2011) You wouldn’t think that a dialogue-heavy comedy about the way countries are manipulated in supporting wars would be riveting… and you would be wrong.  Because films with dialogue as brilliant as In the Loop don’t often come along, and its absurdist approach to portraying bureaucracy will strike a chord to anyone working in an office.  The big difference, however, is the political slant, and the R-rated dialogue.  Anyone who thinks that profanity is the refuge of the inarticulate needs to watch this film to hear some inventive swearing.  Both vulgar and profound, In the Loop makes comedy out of high-level incompetence, bureaucratic delusions, international power-plays and the tension between personal and official capacities.  While the telescoped introduction and somewhat laugh-free finale are unusual, they can be explained by the fact that this is a sort-of-adaption of a British TV show, The Thick of It, that tries to update Yes Minister to contemporary times: If a number of dramatic arcs seem unresolved or hazily set up, familiarity with the TV show may help.  Still, the best way to enjoy the film is just to let the fantastic dialogue and Peter Capaldi’s performance hit you like a 90-minutes-long delight.  Surprisingly enough, the DVD edition of the film comes with no extra features whatsoever, which feels like a missed opportunity.

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