Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. United Kingdom, 2009. BBC Films, UK Film Council, Aramid Entertainment Fund. Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche, additional dialogue by Ian Martin. Cinematography by Jamie Cairney. Produced by Kevin Loader, Adam Tandy. Music by Adem Ilhan. Production Design by Cristina Casali. Costume Design by Ros Little. Film Editing by Anthony Boys, Billy Sneddon. Academy Awards 2009. National Board of Review Awards 2009. New York Film Critics 2009. Online Film Critics Awards 2009.
If you’ve wanted to see a version of the original British The Office set in the world of politics, this is the perfect film for you. It’s a scathingly written, bitingly funny comedy about a British minister (Tom Hollander) who stirs up a hornet’s nest between his government and the USA when he makes a badly worded statement about America’s upcoming involvement in an unnamed war. While the leaders of both countries are all for conflict, there are many around them who feel it merits a closer investigation, and once Hollander has opened his mouth, he finds himself with many pro-war American allies who believe he is the key to getting everyone onto the same ideological side. Even more hilarious is that he tries to take his statements back but every time he does he only makes it worse. Also involved is a trash-mouthed spin doctor (Peter Capaldi in a brilliant performance) who smashes everyone with his gregarious personality in his attempt to keep Hollander under control, a director of Communications (Gina McKee) who doesn’t take anyone’s crap, a paranoid American secretary for Diplomacy (Mimi Kennedy) who sees warmongers everywhere, and the warmongering Assistant Secretary for Policy (David Rasche) who is her prime target. Director Armando Iannucci rides the line between satire and realism beautifully, creating a perfect comedy that is impeccably performed and blissfully well acted, and finds an incredible amount of comedy in what should be a very dry world of political maneuvering.