Last night, I tried to watch two films. I’ve been putting off watching Three Kings for some time, so I finally sat down to watch it. It seems partly based upon Kelly’s Heroes, which I don’t much like. But I have to say, Three Kings made me appreciate it more. This isn’t because of the film. It is about how the characters act. Regardless of how actual soldiers acted in World War II versus how they acted in the Persian Gulf War, the representations indicate that we are devolving. Put simply: we apparently don’t have to bomb a people back to the stone age to show them that we are assholes. After about a half hour I stopped watching the film. It isn’t that the film is not well made, I just wasn’t in the mood for it.
So I put on In the Loop. It is a comedy about the lead up to the Iraq War. It isn’t in any way accurate in the details, although I tend to think it is exactly right broadly speaking. Basically: there were a bunch of powerful people who really wanted to go to war so we did. The first two acts are very funny. Actually, the third act is very funny, I just didn’t laugh. It got too real and I got increasingly angry that these assholes pushed us into war and then managed to screw over everyone who showed the least sign of a soul or backbone. It does not have a happy ending because the Bush-Blair days were not happy. (I still have a great deal of anger toward Blair because I tend to think without his help, Bush could not have gone to war in Iraq; but I might be overestimating Bush.)
The highlights of the film are two actors. First, Peter Capaldi is Malcolm Tucker, the foul-mouthed alpha male Director of Communications. I first saw him in Local Hero where he played such a nice young man. Since then, he seems to have been type cast as a profane Scot. He is hilarious here, although you might want to put on the subtitles so you don’t miss any of the great writing. The second actor is the always wonderful Tom Hollander, who plays Simon Foster, the Secretary of State for International Development. He is a man who really believes in things. Except when he doesn’t. And he goes back and forth on this quite a lot. Here is perhaps the high point of the film where Simon is (quite rightly) chewing out his assistant for showing up at a meeting in his slept-in clothes after a hard night of drinking:
If you like British comedy, you can’t help but enjoy In the Loop. But if you are sometimes offended by the language I use on this site, you should avoid it. The film relishes in its obscenities.
On a related note, the much maligned film War Inc. is very good. My guess is that it will become popular over the next 20 years as people realize that if they don’t approach it as “the sequel to Grosse Pointe Blank” that it is brilliant social and political satire.