England, 2009, 109 minutes
Tue, Apr 28 / 9:30 / Kabuki / INTH28K
Sat, May 2 / 9:30 / Kabuki / INTH02K
Several years ago during the “secret” buildup to the current conflict in Iraq, a nonessential British government minister mumbled in an interview that “war is unforeseeable”—which is not quite the right note the UK wanted to play on that particular day. Enter a gaggle of frantic, spin-maddened bureaucrats on both sides of the Atlantic, jockeying for position and delivering blistering putdowns, mostly to subordinates. Their mission: Save my career. The offending M.P. is Simon Foster (Tom Hollander), a skittish bumbler perhaps too guileless to have reached this level, and director/cowriter Armando Iannucci reprises at least one character from his hit BBC-TV comedy, The Thick of It—the Prime Minister’s caustic Scots communications director, Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi, in nonstop froth). But as Iannucci’s madcap satirical farce plays out, we meet seemingly hundreds of loathsome people in the bowels of power, notably a Pentagon brass monkey (James Gandolfini), a State Department warhawk (David Rasche), a bewildered rookie political fixer (Chris Addison) and at least two Lady-Macbeths-in-waiting, one Brit (Gina McKee) and one Yank (Mimi Kennedy)—plus too many bootlickers to accurately count. Of course, the unseen ghosts of George W. Bush and Tony Blair make their presence felt in every gesture and nervous laugh. People are going to die because of what these toadies are doing. The thrillingly nasty dialogue is maybe too much of a good thing. But we deserve it. Think of it as the beginning of war reparations.
Presented in association with SF Sketchfest. West Coast Premiere.