In the Loop


In the Loop

Critics Consensus

In the Loop is an uncommonly funny political satire that blends Dr. Strangelove with Spinal Tap for the Iraq war era.



Reviews Counted: 172

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 227,006


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.1/5

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Movie Info

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 attachà (C) 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. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Tom Hollander
as Simon Foster
Peter Capaldi
as Malcolm Tucker
James Gandolfini
as General Miller
Gina McKee
as Judy Molloy
Anna Chlumsky
as Liza Weld
David Rasche
as Linton Barwick
Steve Coogan
as Paul Michaelson
Mimi Kennedy
as Karen Clark
Harry Hadden-Paton
as Civil Servant
Samantha Harrington
as Malcolm's Secretary
James Smith
as Michael Rodgers
Enzo Cilenti
as Bob Adriano
James Doherty
as Reporter
Chipo Chung
as Annabelle Hsin
Joanna Brookes
as Mrs. McDiarmid
Rita May
as Mrs. Michaelson
Paul Higgins
as Jamie MacDonald
Alex MacQueen
as Sir Jonathan Tutt
Eve Matheson
as New Minister
Will Smith (III)
as New Advisor
Reid Sasser
as Airport Security Official
Del Pentecost
as White House Tourist
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News & Interviews for In the Loop

Critic Reviews for In the Loop

All Critics (172) | Top Critics (46)

  • You probably wouldn't want to spend three hours listening to Alan Partridge's drive-time radio broadcast, but this idiotic DJ delivers a solid 90 minutes of cinematic entertainment.

    Oct 24, 2018 | Full Review…

    Alonso Duralde

    Top Critic
  • This alleged satire, which received four-star treatment from other critics, left me with a ho-hum and sorry feeling that I had wasted an evening seeing it.

    Jan 17, 2018 | Full Review…

    Ed Koch

    The Atlantic
    Top Critic
  • Shot in fly-on-the-wall style, In The Loop is as expertly and continuously funny as any comedy in years.

    Jan 21, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • If you only watch a scene or two on the internet, it's hilarious. Watch it all and it's a little tiresome and unconvincing.

    Jan 21, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • It's fantastic stuff, so over-the-top, so scabrous, so bitterly brilliant that you have to assume that, on some level, it rings true.

    Oct 21, 2009 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Painfully funny satire of British and American bureaucrats in the days leading up to the Iraq War.

    Aug 21, 2009

Audience Reviews for In the Loop


Peter Capaldi makes this film Just as he did in the series! It's very British and I love it! Funny, entertaining and enjoyable!

Film Crazy
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer


A hilarious political satire with a witty dialogue and a deliciously British sense of humor that I imagine is not for everyone - and Peter Capaldi is priceless and steals the show every time he appears, swearing insanely and shouting the f-word to everyone.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


With a great cast of both Brits and Americans, and a stalwart approach to satirical humor, director Armando Ianucci delivers a great politically motivated comedy. Delving into the oft-mined political sphere, as of late, "In the Loop" follows the bungling of an interview by Simon Forster (Holland) and the subsequent worldwide chatter between the US and UK. It also speaks on the subterfuge of being a political animal, and the hand holding that goes into bills, policy, and wartime paranoia. Everyone in this is so hilarious, and over-the-top in the best of ways. Peter Capaldi steals the entire show as Malcolm Tucker, a lewd, cussing, inflammatory politician who strives to keep his career while double crossing everyone in the process. His longwinded rants on the state of politics, and his own role in its demise are both funny and sadly close to reality. James Gandolfini, Anna Chlumsky, Steve Coogan, and Mimi Kennedy also give outstanding performances as players in an intrigue filled game, whether they know it or not.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

The Americans fancy another war, so backroom spin doctor Peter Capaldi sets about making sure that his British ministers tow the party line and take it up the ass in the name of our "special relationship". In The Loop is basically a big screen version of British political satire The Thick Of It, but incredibly it manages to keep the essence of the show no doubt at the cost of any semblance of box office receipts. Incredibly dark and witty, Armando Iannucci and Capaldi have managed to create a character that will become the stuff of comedy legend. His foul mouthed tirades against his quaking subordinates are as hilarious as they are excruciating and uses the kind of creative obscenities that we haven't seen the like of since Withnail & I. It also has the blend of political nightmare combined with absurdity that made it feel like the Dr. Strangelove of our times and has the kind of sharp wit and sophisticated dialogue of Thank You For Smoking. James Gandolfini is also the perfect casting choice as the US general who gives as good as he gets and the cast as a whole are pretty much flawless. The fact that the entire story is told in words rather than explosions and car chases means that 90% of its potential audience will no doubt switch off straight away, but anyone with two braincells to rub together simply must see this. The one drawback is that once the credits roll and the laughter dies away, you get the hollowing feeling that this really IS how wars begin. F-star-star-star-ing genius.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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