My favorite for the year was Armando Ianucci’s hysterically grim comedy In the Loop:
As uncomfortable as the thought might be, the petty feuds and silly games that dominate most offices also exist in the halls of power in Washington and London. While it’s gloomy to think that people can die because their interests took a back seat to a bureaucrat’s ego, Scottish director Armando Ianucci proves it can also be hysterically funny. In the Loop is loaded with unforgettably profane lines (delivered with vein-popping relish by Peter Capaldi) and a sense that right and wrong, or even simple truth, are subordinate to party lines or how well a person can play office politics. It doesn’t matter if all of the yelling and paper shuffling might actually lead to war in the Middle East. The modest production features a cornucopia of terrific performances from James Gandolfini, David Rasche, Mimi Kennedy, Gina McKee and Tom Hollander. In some ways, the big screen doesn’t do the film justice because the heavily accented dialogue is so thick with absurdist wit, it takes repeated viewings to call all of the insanity unfolding. The film also features what may be the most frightening image in any film of the year. No, it’s not any of the critters in Avatar. It’s Peter Capaldi on his cell phone, charging through D.C. like an angry rhino.