Going in, I had heard this was the funniest movie of 2009 from a lot of critics... but the logline didn't exactly excite me. I tend to despise movies about politics. And satires like Wag the Dog churn my stomach to the point of excretion.
But I must say that this is a must-see film. It was shot in the same verite style as British comedies such as The Office... and the humor was dry like that, although at no time did it feel like a sitcom. Something that kept it grounded was the fact that at its core were real stakes - war, and are the nations going to war. It felt real, and thus the comedy felt real.
All of the actors were spot on, but I think I may have found a new favorite actor from across the pond in Peter Capaldi. I know Christopher Waltz will win Best Supporting Actor, but it is a shame - because Capaldi's Malcolm Tucker is amazing. His profanity laced dialogue from start to finish is so sharp and his delivery is so cutting, he deserves to win something. A working actor for a long time over there, I think this role will catapult him into some bigger films - and I hope to one day work with him.
Steve Coogan (director Armando Ianucci directed most of the episodes of Alan Partridge) shows up for a great cameo. David Rasche and Gina McKee put in a very notable performances as well.
The film has that frenetic pace that is only emboldened by the verite style... and the subject matter never feels heavy. If you have the chance, make room for this on your rental list.