Adapted from the BBC series The Thick of It, this enormously witty satire follows a British diplomatic staff as they fly to Washington to confer with their U.S. counterparts, who are secretly ginning up an invasion of the Middle East. Tom Hollander is the foreign office administrator whose hapless press statements on the matter inflame speculation and enrage the prime minister’s communications director, a brilliantly vulgar Scot played by Peter Capaldi. On the American side, a general who’s trying to slow the rush to war (James Gandolfini) is smoothly outflanked by the State Department’s assistant secretary for policy (David Rasche), an airy asshole plainly based on Donald Rumsfeld. Cowardice and incompetence are endlessly ripe subjects for comedy, and the movie mercilessly indicts the careerists on both sides of the Atlantic who let the Iraq war happen. Armando Iannucci directed; with Steve Coogan. R, 106 min.
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