Thursday, June 3, 2010

Why In The Loop Is a Must See

So after weeks of prodding I reluctantly placed the 2009 British Comedy "In The Loop" on my netflix queue. Honestly my expectations for this film were almost non-existent, the only thing I was sure of was that I would be sending it back as soon as possible so that I could get the next movie on my list. Yet, the movie still sits in my DVD player, and it arrived in the mail over a week ago. Simply put I was blown away by this high quality, intelligent, and irrevently funny examination of the events leading up to a joint US - British invasion of an unnamed Middle Eastern Country (*hint *hint).

In the Loop follows the series of missteps that lead bumbling British Minister for International Development Simon Foster and his aide Toby to the foreground of the international debate on whether or not to invade Ira....I mean the country in question. Pawns in a much larger game between elements within the US State Department, the film provides a refreshing, if unsettling look, at how the decision to use military force is made.

As someone who has spent time working in the UK political system this movie provides a frightenly accurate picture of how underqualified government ministers often are as well as the realities of what being a constituency MP is all about. In one scene in particular Minister Foster is attending a town meeting and a constituents refusing to stop talking about a wall that is falling over into his property. The contrast between the debate on the war and the debate over what to do about this wall is hysterical. Further it is often largely true! More than once I had to calm constituents down who were enraged about seemingly simple things like tree branches extending into their gardens, people parking on the street near there home, and most memorably the woman who told me that she saw kids planting weeds in her garden. Unlike in the United States British Cabinet Ministers are also full time members of the House of Commons. This duality is expertly portrayed and creates the most inconic scenes of the film.

Another aspect of this movie I personally identified with was the role that interns and recent college graduates play in the realm of government. At one point a British govt. employee remarks that "its all kids in Washington" after she meets her American counterpart (who is a good ten years younger than her). The phenomenon she refers to however is not strictly limited to the US. During my time interning in the House of Commons I found that the vast majority of the people I interacted with were under the age of thirty, with the notable exception of most Member's Personal Assistants who were often older. A few poorly timed comments and being in the wrong place at the wrong time by Foster's aide shows just how quickly interns can leave their mark on an office (and not in a good way).

All in all I highly recommend "In The Loop" to any viewer who has ever interned, has an interest in politics, or those just willing to spend an hour and a half laughing.

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