Thursday 17 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Hilarious 'In the Loop' shows the...

Hilarious 'In the Loop' shows the messy, petty side of war

Joe Wertz February 18th, 2010

In the run-up to real war, the messiest battles are waged behind the scenes by bureaucratic troops armed with memos, leaked reports, white papers and committees. These soldiers are as fierce as they a...

In the run-up to real war, the messiest battles are waged behind the scenes by bureaucratic troops armed with memos, leaked reports, white papers and committees. These soldiers are as fierce as they are petty, and every effort is made to minimize collateral damage to precious political careers.

Thick tension

A British satire of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, "In the Loop" is irreverent, inappropriate and probably spot-on. Spun off from the BBC television series "The Thick of It," the film is fast, funny and is paced like a long sitcom. The movie screens 2 p.m. Sunday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

At the center of the action is midlevel British government worker Simon Foster (Tom Hollander, "The Soloist"), the minister for international development. Backed into a corner during a radio interview, Foster mistakenly opines that a war in the Middle East is "unforeseeable."

The tape lands on the desk of Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi, TV's "Torchwood"), the prime minister's "enforcer," who's tasked with making sure every Brit in official capacity toes the proper line. His technique involves threats of physical violence and admirable streams of creative cursing.

Foster's team goes into PR overdrive. Leading the department is Judy Molloy (Gina McKee, "Atonement"), a tired, bureaucratic veteran whose role is eventually overshadowed by hapless newcomer Toby (Chris Addison, "The Thick of It"), who is appointed Foster's assistant for a fact-finding trip to the United States. Rallying around Foster's "unforeseeable" comment is a host of midlevel political leaders in the U.S., a rabble that is simultaneously planning an invasion, preventing an invasion and denying any such planning altogether.

Thick tension
Tension is thick between the two U.S. assistant secretaries of state, Karen Clarke (Mimi Kennedy, TV's "Dharma & Greg"), tasked with taking the diplomatic lead, and Linton Barwick (David Rasche, "Burn After Reading"), a policy wonk with a hankering for clandestine meetings and secret committees with innocuous names and sinister purposes.

James Gandolfini ("Where the Wild Things Are") makes an appearance as Lt. Gen. George Miller, an impatient medal-bedecked war hawk caught between Clarke and Barwick. There's a particularly funny scene with Gandolfini and Kennedy, where in a child's bedroom at some head of state's house, the general reaches for a pink, Math-'N-Teach-type toy to calculate troop-deployment numbers for an invasion.

While not exactly gritty, the hilarious "In the Loop" has a casual style " handheld camera work, awkward angles, improvisation " that coats every scene with an insidery veneer, a style the Brits perfected with TV series like "The Office." Also delightful is omnipresent vulgarity, usually uttered by Capaldi's Tucker character, who uses "fuck" like a comma to string together compound run-on sentences of brilliant profanity.

Instead of building to a big showdown, the film's action is mundane and lifelike. Little fights are picked and conflicts are resolved only with resentments and vows for future vengeance. And because all are utterly disloyal to anything but their own interests, there's a tangled web of agreements and small-time office politics that's familiar and frightening, especially given the ramifications of lifetime bureaucrats and their top-secret "Future Planning Committees." "Joe Wertz
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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