So, I’ve seen this movie at least four times in this past year… the last time watching it was a midnight one a couple of days ago with a girl who requested to death for us to see it. So, I suppose it’s about time to actually review this.
The movie’s events are put into motion with Minister for International Development Simon Foster (played with a pathetic stumbling of manners by Tom Hollander) making two contradicting statements prior to the 2003 US Invasion of Iraq in separate interviews. Having this screwup badly timed prior to his first day, Foster’s new office aide Toby (Chris Addison) is assigned to make Foster look less of a fool in the presence of the U.S. Government during their trip to Washington.
But enter Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi), who is the closest thing the Prime Minister has to a hitman, though the official title is as PM’s Director of Communications. Whenever Tucker is not present, it takes Judy Molloy (Gina McKee), International Development’s Director of Communications, to let Foster know his words will come back to bite him but Tucker steps in frequently throughout the film to tell off Foster and Toby and keep them as best in line as he can.
In the meantime, Foster’s words have caused U.S. Lt. Gen. Miller (James Gandolfini) and Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomacy Karen Clark (Mimi Kennedy) to actively question the possibility of invading Iraq, while Karen’s nemesis, Assistant Secretary of State for Policy Linton Barwick (played with an unnervingly calm attitude by David Rasche) carries out a secret war committee away from the eyes and ears of other government officials.
The things that go wrong in Foster, Toby and Tucker’s visit towards the US capital bring a hilarity in a fish out of water story as nobody in the US government treats them at all important, in the meantime the UK trying to act more important than they feel, the visit based largely on director/writer Armando Iannucci’s visit to Hollywood.
I still have not been watching The Thick of It, the TV series that In the Loop spins-off (also featuring Malcolm Tucker), but this movie has made me interested. The script, like most British humor, relies immensely on a comedy of situations and a subtle wit.
But easily the single greatest part of the movie, and the reason I was begged to show the girl this movie, is Capaldi’s as Tucker. He owns the movie with his fierce, venomous attacks on practically every character he comes across. Nobody gets respect from him at all, he’s contemptuous and in need to fix up every little screw-up on the part of both the UK and the US. Almost every insult he brings out is memorable and every lash is something nobody wants to be on the receiving end of. Tucker’s face-off with Miller at the UN is one of the most malicious moments in recent cinema, the two going at each other verbally with a determination to make the other feel adequately inferior.
The rest of the movie may be cool and all but the reason I’ve been meaning to watch The Thick of Itis only to see more of Tucker. Because he’s really something my words can’t describe.
There is certainly the chance that one might be bored of the film with its primarily political satire, but if you can keep your attention long enough during the film, it’s very rewarding. All said and done, I give it a 8.5/10.
Now to take another several months til I actually watch The Thick of It. Dammit, man.
BONUS: Found these fun little images for said girl’s enjoyment. She’s a Doctor Who fanatic. I can sort of live without it now.