Sometimes, even the best movies lose steam after the first hour. In The Loop doesn’t. If you like the sort of things this movie has to offer, you’ll be sure to enjoy it right up to the bitter end. And by “sort of things this movie has to offer,” I mean fast-paced, filthy-mouthed wit. Led by Peter Capaldi’s Malcolm Tucker, In The Loop takes a behind-the-scenes look at policy making in the British government. There are ethically listless figureheads: fueled and controlled by smarter, more driven people, content in their spotlightless backseat driving and then there are coasters: people with no business being involved in running a government, but nonetheless, here they be.
Looking past the crude, but oh so effing wonderful dialogue, this movie is kind of scary. The deeper we get into the story, the more cynical and difficult it becomes to watch. By the end, we realize that no single person has the ability to effect change, and that a sense of victory is only possible when one is pushing toward the end of towing the line. Even in dealing with a subject as serious and horrible as war, the decisions have been made long before the conversations started, leaving only the truly naive as the only defenders of anything beyond the status quo. Even the most firmly opposed eventually make their pacts, convinced that they’ll be able to have more influence from within the system rather than standing outside of it, hollering for the madness to end.
I’m still not clear how real or accurate the story is. It’s certainly inspired by the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but it’s a scary thought to consider that the deception, manipulation, and falsity presented in In The Loop is inspired by anything authentic. It’s supposed to be funny, it’s supposed to be satirical, but it’s also disturbingly poignant. It’ll make you wonder if this is what’s really going on to make policies happen. And, like all of the characters in the movie, once you let that terror seep in, you’ll simply absorb it into your being and move along with your life like nothing happened.