Saturday, 6 September 2014

"In The Loop" on BLU RAY - A Review Of The Armando Iannucci Film by Mark Barry...

“…Climb The Mountain Of Conflict…”

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 apeshit. 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 – but 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 military manipulative luck – 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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