Armando Iannucci‘s In The Loop, a condensed version of his BBC series “The Thick of It,” is very masculine about the events before the War in Iraq. It also begs the question – how did Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi), the Prime Minister’s Director of Communications, get into power? Did he intimidate the PM or ‘demonstrate’ what he could do others? The funny thing is, Tucker’s bravado and invasive methods also calls into attention how we’re only seeing ministers, directors, secretaries and generals. They in turn tell their lowers and the interns that war is good and that’s what the heads of government think is best. There’s skepticism in my part at least, the real powers that be are faceless, and Tucker and crew use that quality to do what they want.
I try to up the voices I hear within the movie. Nationality? It’s funny enough to watch thrice, but maybe it’s because hearing curse words in a Scottish accent or whispered in an English accent than is better than doing so in an American one. Capaldi layers the torture quip, breathing life on Tucker’s un-bottled energy and exasperation. Or maybe gender is the sharp knife to cut the roast? Maybe not, with Judy Molloy (Gina McKee), at one point telling Malcolm ‘Do you like how I’m telling you what’s going on where you are.’ She’s gentle yet strong despite of Malcolm’s bellowing, refusing to play the game unlike US. Assistant Secretary on Diplomacy Karen Clark (Mimi Kennedy) and one of her aides, Liza (Anna Chlumsky). Liza, by the way, uses too many hand gestures and widening her eyes showing how overwhelmed she is with her situation, being the one who has written an unwelcome paper outlining the likely negative outcomes of the war. And the thing is, it’s not Karen or Liza that comes out unscathed, it’s Judy.
The more I watch In The Loop and get to its ending, the more it makes me feel like crap because on the surface level it lets the loudmouthed bad people win. Politicians. Maybe I’m just seeing a disconnect between then and now, the movie not foreshadowing the consequences for the people who pushed the war. But what about Liza, being reluctant about her paper because her career is on the line. Judy’s boss, Minster of International Development Simon Foster (Tom Hollander), is an equally spineless climber, stumbling into an anti-war quotable and becomes ambivalent about it after Malcolm ‘bollocks’ him. The movie intentionally the movie doesn’t have a good guy with any fortitude, neither.
- Peter Capaldi joins BBC drama The Hour for Season Two (telegraph.co.uk)