In the Loop
The run-up to war makes for curious rivalries and uneasy alliances in this political satire from director and co-screenwriter Armando Iannucci. Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) is a minor minister of international development with the British government who, in the midst of a radio interview, casually tells a reporter "war is unforeseeable." However, the prime minister is being pressured to commit British troops to support American forces in the Middle East, and communications director Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) goes into a tirade when the press turns Foster's passing comment into a major news story. Foster becomes an unwitting media figure, and he and his personal communications director, Judy (Gina McKee), are joined by political damage control expert Toby (Chris Addison) as they're sent to Washington, D.C., to meet with American political and military leaders. Despite Judy's and Toby's help, Foster displays a stubborn inability to say what he's supposed to, and he finds himself caught in the middle between pro-war factions -- including diplomat Karen Clarke (Mimi Kennedy) and State Department official Linton Barwick (David Rasche) -- and those who oppose the conflict, including Pentagon attaché General Miller (James Gandolfini) and activist Liza (Anna Chlumsky). As if matters weren't already complicated enough, Liza used to date Toby when they were college students, and Gen. Miller was once involved with Clarke, adding bitter romantic history to an already rocky playing field. In the Loop received its North American premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.