Sunday, 19 April 2009

In the Loop

Making the most of the sunny weekend. It's probably the last free one we'll get before the end of semester. Things are cranking up and the focus for the next few weeks will be firmly on ensuring that all the students are on track with dissertations, projects and of course the Chiswick House show.

Did a big round walk today up to Richmond, back to Teddington, over to the Ham lands to see a disappointing Victorian fun fair and then onto Kingston to see Armando Iannucci's political satire In the Loop at the Odeon.

The film is all too brilliant in its comic exposure of cynical spin, pragmatic politicking, cut throat threat and counter threat in the corridors of power both in London and Washington. It's a world where a moment of doubt, carelessness or misplaced humour can throw a whole career out the window.

At the end of a week where factions of our own government have revealed their dark underbelly, shameless need for surveillance and utter nastiness through the email scandal, the film couldn't be more on the money. What's potentially more sinister is the way we seem to now shruggingly accept the sleeze even as we condemn it. The star of In the Loop is undoubtedly Peter Capaldi as the Alistair Campbell inspired filth monger Malcolm Tucker but he's ably supported by Tom Hollander's excellent semi detached Minster for International Development, Simon Foster.

Sadly, for most of the hawkish interns and policy wonks staying on message is the only thing that matters, even when the message warps away from logic, sanity or reality. If you can jack in your principles, and fix your focus, the world is your oyster. The cleverness of the film is to authentically expose the lack of sentiment, philosophical imperative or morality at the heart of message making. As the hopeless Simon palpably demonstrates, it's hard to be heard in the noise of the machine.

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