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LAFF Review: In the Loop

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In the same way that Wag the Dog was about the Clinton sex scandals without ever explicitly being about the Clinton sex scandals, Armando Iannucci's In the Loop is a searing and hilarious shadow satire about the run-up to the West's collective misadventures in Iraq. Alternately howlingly mean and relentlessly authentic, it may be the funniest movie of the year, weaving a pastiche of profanity so inventive one can't help but marvel at it. Further, if there has been a better performance this year than that given by Peter Capaldi, I haven't seen it.

As the film opens, English government minister Simon Foster is being assailed by Capaldi's Malcolm Tucker for daring to say in public that a war many believed to be imminent was, in fact, "unforeseeable." Bug-eyed with anger and bristling with certainty, Tucker is a man few dare to tangle with and Foster quickly capitulates to him. He tries to make amends when he is ambushed by an army of reporters, but mangles his remarks to them and is immediately propped up as a warmonger ready to climb, in his words, "the mountain of conflict."