The poster for the film "In the Loop" starring James Gandolfini and Tom Hollander. Courtesy of

When it comes to political satire, there is nothing in the United States even close to the movie “In the Loop.” For all the hilarious send-ups Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert consistently deliver, or the priceless pieces in “The Onion,” Americans just don’t have anything approaching the kind of sharp, biting and inordinately foul-mouthed tone of this British movie. Trust me on this one. I’ve looked. I mean, look at what the movie’s got for a main character: Scottish actor Peter Capaldi plays Malcolm Tucker, a slim, gray-haired Director of Communications who swears like a sailor, runs like Princess Toadstool and spends most of the film threatening others with baroque forms of physical harm. (Representative quote: “You get sarcastic with me again and I will stuff so much cotton wool down your throat it’ll come out your ass like the big tail on a Playboy bunny.”) The rest of the characters range from Simon Foster (Tom Hollander), a detached twit of a government minister, to Lieutenant General George Miller, the “Gore Vidal of the Pentagon,” played by James Gandolfini. You get to watch these people muddle about, trying to either start or stop the beginning of a Middle Eastern war. Sound familiar? That’s exactly what writer Jesse Armstrong, a former Whitehall staffer, intended. Beyond doing an admirable job of showing you exactly what kind of terrible, terrible human being goes into politics in the first place — and even the cynics among will be surprised — “In the Loop” is a tightly plotted, sharply made and, if I didn’t mention it already, incredibly foul-mouthed piece of film. It comes highly recommended.

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