In the Loop

The Nominations:

  • Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

The Black-and-White:

A review by moviegirl

There was once a time when I would routinely see movies multiple times at the movie theater. Mind you, that was at a time when a movie ticket could still be had for less than half an hour’s work at my minimum-wage summer job. Now, a kid earning minimum wage would have to work over 2 hours just to be able to get in the theater door, with nothing left over for popcorn!

Even though I make (slightly) more than minimum wage today, I’m still loathe to shell out the equivalent of what I pay for a month’s worth of Netflix just to watch a single film — let alone going to see that same film more than once. Yet, oddly enough, this year there were two movies that shared that distinction. The first was An Education, which I really only saw 1.5 times (the 0.5 being at this viewing).

The other movie I saw twice in the theater was In the Loop. Here’s the plot synopsis from imdb.com:

The US President and UK Prime Minister fancy a war. But not everyone agrees that war is a good thing. The US General Miller doesn’t think so and neither does the British Secretary of State for International Development, Simon Foster. But, after Simon accidentally backs military action on TV, he suddenly has a lot of friends in Washington, DC. If Simon can get in with the right DC people, if his entourage of one can sleep with the right intern, and if they can both stop the Prime Minister’s chief spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker rigging the vote at the UN, they can halt the war. If they don’t… well, they can always sack their Director of Communications Judy, who they never liked anyway and who’s back home dealing with voters with blocked drains and a man who’s angry about a collapsing wall.

I’m guessing that the Academy placed this nomination in the “adapted” screenplay category because some of the characters and actors in this mockumentary originally appeared in director Armando Iannucci’s BBC television series The Thick of It. On the other hand, the conspiracy theorist in me wonders if maybe they had to use the “adapted” label because this is how it all really happened. (Okay, probably not, but you still have to wonder, right?)

I’ve seen two of the other nominees in this category (the third being Up in the Air), and this had by far the smartest dialogue, the most engaging pacing, and the least amount of Oscar pandering. Most of all, it’s the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long time — so funny in fact that I had to go back a second time because I laughed over many of the funniest bits.

It’s possible that the Academy members will simply dismiss it as the UK’s answer to Wag the Dog, and choose to recognize the home-grown talent instead. If so, that would be a shame because this was a standout amongst the movies I saw this year.

Worth every penny. Twice.

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