In the Loop

In the Loop

In the Loop

Saw this movie in the oscar nomination list (Adapted Screenplay). Got it through Netflix and watched it over the weekend.


It is a mock political comedy.

Background: The US government wants to go to war with some Middle East Country. The British PM is going along. Politicians (not including the actual head of state) on both sides of Atlantic, both divided into anti-war, and pro-war camps.

The Characters:
From the US:
– Daren Clarke (US Assistant Secretary for Diplomacy, anti-war)
– Lieutenant General George Miller (anti-war)
– Linton Barwick (US Assistant Secretary for Policy, pro-war)

From the UK:
– Simon Foster (Minister for International development, anti-war, but not hardline)
– Malcolm Tucker (Communication Manager for PM, Simon’s boss? He sure acts like he is everyone’s boss. Not really having a stand, just does whatever the PM wants him to do. The funniest character of all. Every sentence is decorated with many F words, super creative at his cursing lines.)

No wonder it got the nomination for its script. the lines are priceless.

Michael Rodgers (some mid-level staffer from foreign relationship office on UK side, loves opera) is on the phone.

Michael Rodgers: No, no, no, you needn’t worry about the Canadians, they’re just happy to be there.
Michael Rodgers: Yes, well, they always look surprised when they’re invited.

Jamie MacDonald (Michael Rodgers’ boss) came into Michael’s office and heard the opera blasting in the background.

Jamie MacDonald: Turn that fucking racket off! It’s just VOWELS! Subsidised… foreign… vowels!

At the very beginning of the movie, Simon Foster made a comment about war is unforeseeable during a radio interview with Times. The US anti-war camp (Karen) liked it and brought Simon along back to the US to attend a “war” committee meeting held by Linton and wanted Simon to express an “international” point of view to counter Linton’s hawkish stand.

But Simon didn’t dare, and the following hallway conversation happened after the committee meeting.

Lt. Gen. George Miller: So you’re not resigning?
Karen Clarke: Are you still playing the hawk?
Simon Foster: Well, in… in a way I’m playing a much cleverer game than that… I’m a fake hawk.
Lt. Gen. George Miller: [pause] A what?
Simon Foster: …Fake hawk?
Lt. Gen. George Miller: [pause] You’re an idiot. Or are you a… fake idiot?

This the pep-talk Simon got before he went to the “war” committee meeting that Karen invited him to.

Malcolm Tucker: You concentrate on nothing! You stay detached, or else that’s what I’ll do to your retinas.
Simon Foster: Can I go to bed now, please?
Malcolm Tucker: Oh no. We’re gonna stay here, and you are gonna rehearse saying nothing.
Simon Foster: …Am I being tortured?

In Washington, Linton had one of his 22 year old deputy AJ to brief Linton’s UK counter part, Tucker, on the “war” committee’s work. Tucker felt very insulted.

A.J. Brown: Yeah. So, item. We need to have a conversation about the mood of the British Parliament, the bumps in the road ahead and what not.
Malcolm Tucker: I’m sorry, I don’t… This situation here is… Is this it? No offence, son, but you look like you should still be at school with your head down a fucking toilet.
A.J. Brown: Your first point there, the offence? I’m afraid I’m going to have to take it. Your second point, I’m 22, but item, it’s my birthday in nine days, so… if it will make you feel more comfortable, we could wait.
Malcolm Tucker: Don’t get sarcastic with me, son. We burned this tight-arsed city to the ground in 1814. And I’m all for doing it again, starting with you, you frat fuck. You get sarcastic with me again and I will stuff so much cotton wool down your fucking throat it’ll come out your arse like the tail on a Playboy bunny. I was led to believe I was attending the war committee.
A.J. Brown: Yes, Assistant Secretary of State Linton Barwick asked me to brief you on the work of the Future Planning Committee.
Malcolm Tucker: I’m away.
[AJ’s assistant walks in with the coffee]
Malcolm Tucker: And here we are. The fucking Vice President has also graced us with his presence. Give him a bottle of milk.

Malcolm Tucker: Linton! Linton!
Linton Barwick: Mr Tucker, isn’t it? Nice to see you again.
Malcolm Tucker: Are you fucking me about?
Linton Barwick: Is there a problem, Mr Tucker?
Malcolm Tucker: I’ve just come from a briefing with a nine-year-old child.
Linton Barwick: You’re talking about AJ. AJ is one of our top guys. He’s a Stanton College Prep, Harvard. One of the brightest and best.
Malcolm Tucker: Well, his briefing notes were written in alphabetti spaghetti. When I left, I nearly tripped up over his fucking umbilical cord.
Linton Barwick: I’m sorry it troubles you that our people achieve excellence at such an early age. But could we just move on to what’s important here? Now, I understand that your Prime Minister has asked you to supply us with some, say, fresh British intelligence, is that true?
Malcolm Tucker: Yeah, apparently, your fucking master race of highly-gifted toddlers can’t quite get the job done…
Linton Barwick: All right.
Malcolm Tucker: …between breast feeds and playing with their Power Rangers. So, an actual grown-up has been asked to fucking bail you out.

Karen and Lt. Gen. Miller originally made a pact that they were both going to resign to protest the war. But Lt. Gen. Miller backed out.

Lt. Gen. George Miller: My loyalty is to the kids. I am a soldier.
Karen Clarke: You’re not a soldier.
Lt. Gen. George Miller: I’ve been a soldier my whole life! What do you mean I’m not a soldier? I’m a soldier! Look at the uniform – what, do you think I’m one of the fucking Village People?
Karen Clarke: When did you shoot a guy last?
Lt. Gen. George Miller: What, just because I haven’t shot someone in fifteen years. I’m not a soldier? You know, the Army doesn’t make you drag some bullet-ridden bloody corpse into the Pentagon every five years to renew your soldier’s license!

More quotes at imdb.