In the Loop



Some movies have the knack of arriving at the most painfully right time. Just as Damian McBride's blood is being Dysoned off the carpet at No 10 and Derek Draper's fingerprints removed from the Chequers dining table, here comes Armando Iannucci's horribly brilliant comedy about this government's culture of spin and muddle, using characters first aired in the TV show The Thick Of It. It is a satirical, cynical nightmare on the subject of the run-up, or blunder-up, to the war in Iraq, complete with the nastiest of PR attack dogs and the dodgiest of dossiers. It conjures up a compelling backstairs political world of anxiety and incompetence, bullying and humiliation.

The villain is Malcolm Tucker, the ferocious Downing Street media director - with some resemblances to a certain real-life bruiser - wonderfully played by Peter Capaldi: he has a psychotic need to intimidate civil servants, journalists and ministers with screaming fits of targeted obscenity. This is a man in a permanent state of Defcon-1, on continuous alert to launch a pre-emptive strike against hostile reporters or incompetent politicians who may let the side down with an ill-advised interview.

As Washington moves towards war with Iraq, towing submissive London along behind it, Tucker's eyes bulge with rage at news of a particularly faffing media performance by a simpering minister called Simon Foster, played by Tom Hollander, who has broken the officially neutral line, first by saying that war was "unforeseeable" and then saying that Britain might have to "climb the mountain of conflict". "You sound like a Nazi Julie Andrews!" screams Tucker.

Foster's fence-sitting remarks draw him into the political debate in Washington, where both hawks and doves are keen to claim him as one of their own. Almost like Peter Sellers's Chauncey Gardiner in Being There, this non-savant idiot from Blighty is in danger of being taken seriously by Americans - that is, people with real power. A British contingent sets off for rounds of talks in Washington and New York, taking Foster with them, and they are instantly star-struck and awe-struck by the glamour and might of the world's Number One Superpower - this, Iannucci appears to be saying, is how Britain's callow political liberals allowed themselves to be flattered and bullied and panicked into supporting whatever war America decided on. And it is all too plausible.

Ranged against the pro-war lobby is a certain career general and veteran of the first Iraq campaign of '91, and a man deeply suspicious of bellicose politicians. Interestingly, this dove-in-khaki is played by James Gandolfini, famous for his portrayal of mobster Tony Soprano. Interestingly cast against type as the peacenik, Gandolfini nonetheless has a monumentally unpleasant face-off with Tucker.

The acting is superb, and the writing is relentlessly funny - vicious and delicious. And refreshingly, there isn't a sympathetic character in sight.

bellicose - wojowniczy

blunder - gafa, błąd

bruiser - osiłek, brutal

bulge - (o oczach) wybałuszać, wychodzić na wierzch

callow - nieopierzony, niedoświadczony

compelling - fascynujący, zajmujący

conjure up - wyczarowywać

dodgy  - podejrzany, niebudzący zaufania

faff - robić bałagan

fence-sitting - neutralny, niezdecydowany

ferocious - dziki, nieopanowany, porywczy

hawks and doves - hawk: zwolennik rozwiązań siłowych; dove: zwolennik rozwiązań pokojowych

knack - talent, smykałka

mobster - gangster

muddle - bałagan, zamieszanie

peacenik - zwolennik rozwiązań pokojowych

pre-emptive - prewencyjny, zapobiegawczy

simpering - kokieteryjny, mizdrzący się

spin - kołowrót

tow - holować

Nie masz uprawnień do komentowania

Wszystko do nauki języków


Komunikat dla użytkowników:

Od dnia 7.01.2019 zaprzestaliśmy codziennego wysyłania listy słówek.

Zaloguj się lub zarejestruj aby skorzystać ze wszystkich funkcji portalu.

Czytelnia - treści losowe

Loading ...