Richard’s Year of Movies — In the Loop

“You are a real boring fuck. Sorry, sorry, I know you disapprove of swearing so I’ll sort that out. You are a boring F-star-star-cunt.”

There can be as much poetry in a well-timed vulgarity as there can be in all the flowery images Shakespeare put to paper.  Just watch any episode of Deadwood if you want proof.  The sheer inventiveness of the profanity in that show, while not only apparently accurate for the time, elevates the story from a simple Western to a sweeping human drama that just happens to be set in the West.

The same can be said for In the Loop, a recent Oscar nominee for Best Adapted Screenplay.  Only here, not only is the swearing dizzyingly intricate, it has the added bonus of the universal touch of class:  the British accent.  And the Scottish accent as well.

Not to say that the film is simply a cavalcade of dirty words.  They’re woven together in a tapestry of impatience, arrogance, confusion and frustration centered around what feels like a not-too-fictionalized account of the run-up to the Iraq war.  So there’s back-stabbing, double-crossing, and outright lying.  “We don’t need any more facts,” one character says.  “In the land of truth, my friend, the man with one fact is king.”  Or, as another character says, “You may have heard him say that, but he didn’t say that.  And that’s a fact.”  There are times when the film seems to tweak Goebbels’ famous quote into “If you tell a lie big enough and add enough intimidating bluster and profanity, people will eventually come to believe it just to get you to stop yelling at them.”

If The West Wing is the shimmering paragon of what we all wish the political process would be, In the Loop is what we fear it actually is, the brutal monster lurking beneath all the idealism.  And, most likely, a necessary evil; behind all the flowery talk of friendship and cooperation, someone’s got to be there dropping the F-bombs.


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