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(Credit: Far Out)

Film

Movie of the Week: The incompetent absurdity of modern politics with 'In the Loop'

@Russellisation

It’s over. After almost three years of sheer incompetence from Boris Johnson at the very top of British politics, on July 7th, the country was handed back a shred of decency as the mop-headed, stubborn private school boy finally departed from his dream job.

His departure comes after a baffling succession of public scandals that saw Johnson show off flagrant racism and repulsive arrogance to the peculiar apathy of the British people and his own conservative party. Much like a petulant school boy who refused to lose a game of ‘tag’ by constantly making up new fabricated rules, Johnson bowed out of his position with as much decency as a “wank flannel” as the venomous protagonist of Armando Iannucci’s In the Loop might spit. 

Exposing the sheer lunacy of everyday life in the British government, Iannucci’s movie is a feature-length adaptation of his own BBC programme, The Thick of It, featuring a host of national comedic talent from Chris Addison to Steve Coogan, as well as a number of American stars including Zach Woods and the late James Gandolfini.

Much like the very best pieces of satire, as the years have passed since the release of In the Loop, the film’s farce has come to seem less and less absurd as the staggering events of reality blur the lines of fiction. Acting with almost total incompetence, the characters of the 2009 comedy lie, cheat and manipulate their way through the political system until they find a role that they think they are capable of proficiently bullshitting their way through, a truth similar to the sorry nodding dogs of the current tory cabinet. 

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Iannucci achieves this sharp level of satire through the blending of awkward candid British comedy, inspired by the burgeoning mockumentary style of Ricky Gervais’ The Office with a smart narrative backbone that better represents the work of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, as he lampoons the questionable decision making that went into the Iraq war of the early noughties. 

At the time, it was a piece of great catharsis for those still enraged by the political decision to invade the country, with Iannucci providing the perfect piece of fiction that spoke of a contemporary truth that few others could allocate and ridicule. 

Indeed, this monumental achievement wasn’t just the product of Iannucci, with the comedic assault on the British government also commanded by co-writers Simon Blackwell and modern industry darling Jesse Armstrong. The writer of HBO’s slick business drama, Succession, Armstrong has long collaborated with Iannucci, working with the Scottish filmmaker on the American political comedy Veep as well as The Thick of It.

Bringing together the finest minds of modern British comedy, including the writers of The Day Today, I’m Alan Partridge and Peep Show, Iannucci’s In the Loop has become a timeless document that will long display the sheer ludicrous idiocy of bumbling British politics. Particularly now, in a time of utter conservative turmoil, there has never been a better time to watch 2009 classic and bathe in the tragic absurdity of the current kakistocracy.