Film tackles Iraq war with humor
By Mike Collett-White
LONDON (Reuters) - After a series of films on the Iraq war flopped at the box office, a biting political satire about British and U.S. officials concocting dubious evidence to justify invasion hopes that humor can do the trick.
"In the Loop" is a fictional comedy starring James Gandolfini, but the character of Malcolm Tucker, an aggressive, acid-tongued "spin doctor" to the British prime minister, bears clear comparison to the real-life Alastair Campbell.
Campbell served under Tony Blair and helped prepare for public consumption the intelligence that was used to justify war in Iraq.
The cast of British and U.S. politicians caught up in a tussle between supporters and opponents of war in an unspecified Middle Eastern country is also designed to be close enough to the truth to make audiences think.
"My professional and natural reaction to all these things is to go for comedy," said Scottish director Armando Iannucci, who was angered by what he felt was a misleading campaign by the British government to join the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
"That doesn't mean to say when you do a comedy about a topic you are lightening that topic or you are making less of it," he told Reuters in an interview to promote the movie.
"If anything, I find that comedy helps you analyze it in more ways. There were lots of straight dramas about Iraq in the last year or so and I think people found them fairly heavy going and a bit of a turn off ... and I wanted to do something that felt a little bit more timeless but also human."
Movies related to the war in Iraq include those set in the conflict zone ("Redacted," "The Hurt Locker") and those dealing with people's lives back home ("In the Valley of Elah," "Grace is Gone"). Most were largely ignored by U.S. audiences. Continued...