Gandolfini the Great

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Writes Robert Blumen:

Lew – The recent passing of James Gandolfini gave me cause to think about my favorite of any of his film or television appearances.  No, not Tony in The Sopranos, about which I have mixed feelings.   It was Armando Iannuci’s film In the Loop.

The story, which covers the Anglo-American elites planning of a war against a small but unnamed middle-Eastern nation, is a thinly veiled satire of the run-up to the Iraq war.  It is probably the most cynical depiction of the war party ever on film, exceeding even that of Wag the Dog.

It’s all there: the disgruntled expatriate with fake intel, a fabricated causus belli, lying to congress, the launching of a war for domestic political purposes, the Rahm Emmanuel clone, botched message discipline, and the piling on by what Ray McGovern refers to as the Fawning Corporate Media.   Gandolfini plays a reluctant general who, having fought in actual wars and seen people die, believes that wars should only be undertaken as a last resort and with due cause.  Gandolfini’s role in this film could be seen as a sort of Karen Kwiatowski character, a principled opponent to wars of aggression fought for phony reasons.

UPDATE from John McKerrow:

Regarding In the Loop, you should give your readers a “heads up” on the far superior television series called The Thick of It. It is made by the same writer/director/producer Armando Iannucci; yet, it is even more cynical and far more funny than the film. The series includes much of the same cast as the film, but the actors play different characters. The exception is Peter Capaldi, who plays the Scot, Malcolm Tucker. The Tucker character is clearly based on the New Labour bag man Alastair Campbell. What is so great about this programme is that it depicts politicians as they are: viz., useless, incompetent, power hungry, and cowardly.

2:30 pm on June 23, 2013