May 09

Menswear. And Womenswear too.

Do You See + FT1 comment • 316 views

What to say about In The Loop? Its a satire and its sweary. Like most good satires it is also a fantastically angry film, weaving its scatological comedy around the reason British people are most angry with their government in the last ten years, the Iraq War*. Not that In The Loop deals with specifics. There is a war, there are governments but there are unnamed leaders and it is also a touch difficult sometimes to even tell what the politics of the protagonists are. This is all the point, and you would be forgiven at the end to think that Armando Ianucci’s aim was just a nihilistic one – destroy all governments they are clearly useless. But of course this hides a remarkably idealistic strain that next to none of the characters share but is at the heart of the film. It isn’t just asking how did politics come to this, even if it is an over-the-top satire (and it plausibly stands in for the truth). But it does demand we do something about it.

Of course, as can be said about naysayers everywhere, its fine to be critical, but where are your concrete suggestions to solve the problem? Eh? EH?

One thing that bugs me about the critical appraisal of the film though. Many reviews have said that the film loses its way in its American scenes, that those scenes lack bite. Well they lack seasoned members of the cast of The Thick Of It, but that is easily made up by sharp writing which deliniates a similar, but different set of problems in US politics. And perhaps by having who might be the only idealistic characters in the film being in the States the film does weaken its satire of ALL OF POLITICS EVER. But then Iannucci is not saying that politics is BY ITS NATURE corrupt, venal and hopeless. In having a couple of characters who are just hopeless, or a bit venal, he shows his true feelings.

And it was nice to see Anna Chlumsky of My Girl again after fifteen years of mourning of Macaulay Culkin’s death!

*I still get the general feeling that the Tories wouldn’t have been positioned particularly to avoid the credit crunch either. And whilst the Tories would have clearly gone to war, we expected that. We didn’t expect doe-eyed Blair to ignore stupendous public opinion and lack of evidence for some kind of holy crusade.


  1. 1
    Mark M on 24 May 2009 #

    To your final para, the Tories actually have almost no critique at all about how we got into the mess, being fully signed-up believers in turbo capitalism (in the early days of the crisis, they left the hammering of the Chancellor to Vince Cable, who had in fact been banging about this stuff for years). Their entire argument is about the size of government debt, which many economists indeed think will have an impact on the length of the recession, and the medium-term strength of the economy – but has nothing to do with the what caused the initial problem. Dough-faced Dave and George – whose combined economic ignorance is notorious in Notting Hill toff circles – like to mix up government debt with personal and corporate debt, which were indeed relevant to the start of the crisis. So, in summary, would they have dodged the credit crunch? No.

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