In The Loop

7.41 h 45 min2009X-RayNR
2010 Academy Award (R) nominee for best adapted screenplay, and on over 50 Top Ten critics lists, IN THE LOOP is a smart comedy from the acclaimed team who created the award-winning BBC TV comedy series ALAN PARTRIDGE and THE THICK OF IT. The film is drawing instant comparisons to some of the great political and absurdist comedies such as DOCTOR STRANGELOVE, WAG THE DOG, and MONTY PYTHON. With razor-sharp, truly laugh-out-loud dialogue, the film pokes fun at the absurdity and ineptitude of our highest leaders. With everyone looking out for number one and the fate of the free world at stake (but apparently incidental), the hilarious ensemble cast of characters bumbles its way through Machiavellian political dealings across continents and toward comic resolutions that are unforeseeable. This must-see indie comedy from IFC Films stars James Gandolfini, Peter Capaldi and Steve Coogan.
Armando Iannucci
Peter CapaldiTom HollanderGina McKee
InternationalComedyArthouseArts, Entertainment, and Culture
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
James GandolfiniChris AddisonAnna ChlumskyDavid Rasche
Kevin LoaderAdam Tandy
IFC Films
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4.4 out of 5 stars

1042 global ratings

  1. 70% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 13% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 5% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 6% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

J. LeMenagerReviewed in the United States on December 22, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Cult comedy classic
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I'd seen this film once before and had trouble finding it online on either Netflix or Amazon Prime. So I bought it. No regrets. It's funnier than I'd remembered. Worth multiple viewings, mostly because I was laughing so hard, I missed a lot of the dialog and jokes.

At its heart, this is a send-up on the so-called permanent government -- both in the US and the UK -- that stays on while the power shifts back and forth between political parties. In fact, their disdain for elected officials is palpable and provides the basis for much of the humor. I will be watching this again and again.
5 people found this helpful
éclairReviewed in the United States on February 24, 2018
3.0 out of 5 stars
The TV show is better.
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This movie is a spinoff of the superior series The Thick of It, and it just feels like a longer, rather low-key episode. I might have liked the movie better if I had seen it without seeing the series, but coming off of the show I was a bit disappointed. For some reason the scenes with the American actors feel kind of flabby. Just watch the show, it's brilliant. I tell people that if they don't like it at first, they should skip to Season 3, which is a good jumping-on point as it introduces a new lead minister, and is where the show really starts to shine.

And just to allay confusion—the movie is kind of an "alternate universe" from the show. Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) is the same, but all the other actors are playing new characters and not their characters from the show.
6 people found this helpful
chibivesicleReviewed in the United States on November 22, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
gives the flavor of "the thick of it" but not as good
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As others have commented, this isn't a bad movie. However, compared to the source material "The Thick of It" it really falls short. Capaldi is still Malcolm Tucker, but the rest of the cast from the TV show are playing different characters in different governmental departments save for Jamie MacDonald. He's the Scottish enforcer for Tucker back at 10 Downing and he is actually more terrifying than in the TV show. It was a bit odd to see the same actors playing different characters so that was a bit of a disappointment.

I felt the movie relied on the viewer already knowing Tucker's character so as a result it was a bit disappointing as he had less screen time that I would have liked. Most of the characters from the States seemed to fall a bit flat and the trailer makes you think that Capaldi and Gandolfini had more than one go at their excellent verbal sparring. Unless they wanted the Americans to seem dull and boring . . . . I did appreciate Tucker running around DC like a penguin with its arse on fire. Actually, I love al scenes where Capaldi runs, period.

The darkly sublime humor of the show is lost in the movie since a lot of it is based on the slow and odd turns that happen in government. The movie tries to pick a plot that would appear a bit more widely focusing on foreign affairs and things that sound really similar to the lead up to the Iraq war. I think this is because the show focuses on the Dept of Social Affairs (and Citizenship) so the humor is really found in all of the drama surrounding the banal.

So if you watch the movie is it worth it? Sure, it is funny enough and you get some good laughs and it is a bit fresh with the US-UK relations bit. But if you've watched the show you will be disappointed - unlike Tucker being pretty much unf**kable in the show, the movie doesn't have him coming out on top when trying to slug it out with the US State Dept dude. Yeah, sure he delivers the "goods" but you don't get that same smug Tucker that you get at the end of season 2 nor season 3. The TV show sets him up as Machiavellian, the movie just has him as foul mouthed spin doctor, who still has some good lines.
One person found this helpful
C. CollinsReviewed in the United States on January 30, 2014
4.0 out of 5 stars
Political satire that is often all too true
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This is a political satire with the cynical verbal barbs of British humor. I enjoyed it for many reasons which I will explain in this review. It is primarily about spin. By this I mean that the film is mainly about British and American politicians and bureaucrats trying to control the message, threaten their colleagues if they stray from the message, adapt quickly when conditions change and thus the message needs to change, multiple ways to deceive, and ways to cover your fingerprints as you try to turn every situation into a career win rather than a career loss. Sound familiar? Yes, every type of careerist is characterized here but with their weaknesses revealed exponentially.

Peter Capaldi plays the Director of Communications for the British Prime Minister. As such he has to keep the rest of the government on message. Whenever an official in government strays off message, he goes crazy and becomes a threatening profanity filled demon to bring them back in line. Unfortunately for the naïve Secretary of International Development Simon Foster, played perfectly by Tom Hollander, he lets a personal opinion about Mid-east tensions slip in an interview. Simon is a good fellow who is totally over his head in the insane world of cut-throat politics. He plays the role of the gentle fool, he tries to be wise and ends up sounding foolish, and he becomes a ping pall ball in the political discourse as the United States and Great Britain move toward an invasion of an unnamed country. On Simon’s staff is his Communications Director, Judy Malloy, played by the exceptional actress Gina McKee. She also plays Caterina Sforza in the epic series, The Borgias, with Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexander VI. If there is a character that may serve as the moral center of the film, the observer of all the chaos and miscommunication, it is Judy Malloy. Her boss is not very supportive, a new understudy is hired for the office, and the Director of Communication for the Prime Minister is openly hostile toward her as if it is her fault that Simon Foster makes idiotic but well meaning comments to the press that are twisted for political ends. Chris Addison plays the new communications assistant in Simon’s office, Toby Wright, and he creates one crisis after another with his careless leaks to the press. There is a wonderful scene where he is caught having a one-night-stand with an old graduate school friend and his excuses and denials provide a miniature example of the spin being practiced by the more senior statesmen in the film.

On the American side of the equation, things are almost as idiotic. Two dueling Assistant Secretaries of State try to continually out play each other as the United States moves toward an invasion of another country. Mimi Kennedy plays Assistant Secretary Clark whose bright young assistant, played by Anna Chlumsky, has done a policy analysis and found many more disadvantages of an invasion compared to advantages. She also has discovered that the British intelligence source, Iceman, is highly unreliable. What is portrayed so well here is that competition exists at multiple layers of organizations with folks most competitive with people at their own level. Mimi Kennedy is outstanding in this film. Her competitor, Assistant Secretary of State for Policy, Linton Barwick, speaks non-sense to continually throw people off his track. He is played by David Rasche. James Gandolfini is also excellent playing the Pentagon general who is trying to protect his career while the pro-war and anti-war forces battle in the policy and press arenas.

In the policy world of leaks to the relentless press, distorted and unreliable intelligence sources, careerism and competition, poor message control, and shifting alliances; this political satire sometimes rings all too true. I admit this film is not for everyone. The cursing by Peter Capaldi, while highly creative and imaginative, is also a bit crude. The dialogue is fast and furious and sometimes due to the British accents is hard to understand. However, as a mini-mirror into the world of policy formation, it is right on the money.
5 people found this helpful
JenniferReviewed in the United States on April 20, 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
Recommend for Fans of The Thick of It
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This film was based on a TV show in Britain called The Thick of It (sort of a modern Yes, Minister). The TV series is much more enjoyable than the movie. I would recommend watching the TV series over this film. While I highly recommend the TV series, please note there are several "four letter" words in almost every sentence. It's hard to describe, but it fits with the show and works (in my opinion). The main character speaks English with a Scottish accent so you may want to use subtitles if you are not Scottish or do not have a good ear for accents. But maybe that's just me. I use subtitles for everything from TV, movies, sports, and even the evening news.
One person found this helpful
Todd M.Reviewed in the United States on April 18, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Biting satire that’s sustainable is hard to do.
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However, that’s not the case in this one that comes on strong and stays that way. It also has an excellent cast and the dialog is sometimes staccato style and for those of us who aren’t Brits it took a lot of reading to catch what was being said. If you’ve ever worked in a back biting office environment there’s a lot to relate with in this one that’s often hilarious.
3 people found this helpful
SunweaverReviewed in the United States on January 8, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Laugh out loud - all the way to war
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This movie arrived just as I was looking for something different to watch. I loved it. People comment a lot about the swearing, but watch as the character Malcolm Tucker adjusts his tone from "longshoreman" (when acting as an Enforcer with everyone in the Ministry of International Development - including the Minister,) to "prep-school" (when dealing with senior American officials). I also found it amusing that this master of the profane was the communications manager to the Prime Minister.

The out-takes are also very funny, so don't skip them!

I bought this with the idea of watching it before I bought "The Thick of It" in order to gauge how well I would enjoy that series. I placed the order within 24 hours, and expect to be glued to my television for several days, once it is delivered.
11 people found this helpful
Bruce G. TaylorReviewed in the United States on September 27, 2011
5.0 out of 5 stars
Brilliant Satire
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This is a movie that some people really dislike. It contains a surfeit of vulgar and profane language largely from the character of the British prime minister's director of communications brilliantly played by Peter Capaldi. Also, it is satire, which is disliked by many people. The great American playwright George S. Kaufman once said that "Satire is what closes on Saturday night." The subject is a series of meetings in London and in Washington between U.S. and U.K. high government officials concerning the possibility of an impending war, presumably somewhere in the Middle-East.

Most of the actors in this film are new to me. Some of the actors playing the parts of Americans may well be British actors. These days, actors on both side of the pond can provide either American or British accents nearly perfectly. One actor, definitely American, is James Gandolfini, playing an American General who reputedly uses a live hand grenade as a paper weight.

The superbly written film portrays these officials who, in their attempts to avoid the outbreak of a new war, only manage to move both countries closer and closer to it. The cast and director of this fine film acquit themselves admirably. The opening credits state that part of the funding for this film was provided by the U.K. Film Council, an organization that has since been abolished in order to reduce government spending.

The film adroitly demonstrates the failure of human beings to communicate. To quote T.S. Eliot from one of his plays: "Men tighten the knot of confusion into perfect misunderstanding."
9 people found this helpful
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