Starry Starry Night

Tonight’s opening gala is worth getting a little starry-eyed about. Gail Tolley reports.

Feature by Gail Tolley | 12 Feb 2009
  • In the Loop

The world of film has always been star-studded. Stars on the screen, stars on the red-carpet and, if you’re lucky, stars splashed across the critics’ reviews. Well this year we are lucky, as both are in abundance for tonight’s opening gala performance. Glasgow-born director Armando Iannucci’s political satire In the Loop will be getting its UK premiere in our fair city. Fresh from Sundance, this black comedy has been totting up the column inches as critics get excited about what could be one of the highlights of 2009 (indeed The Times’ Damon Wise has already commented that “it might even be the best British film of the year”). The film focuses on the ‘special’ relationship between the US and the UK in the run up to an unspecified war in the Middle East (no prizes for guessing what that’s alluding to). Simon Foster (Tom Hollander), the secretary for state for the Department of International Development, gets swept up in a whirlwind of political spin as he becomes a pawn for governments on both sides of the Atlantic. Similar in style and content to his TV series The Thick of It, In the Loop is certainly ripe for the US’s increasing appetite for satirical British comedy, a fact that meant it was quickly snapped up by a US distributor earlier this year. And there’s no reason to think that it won’t go down just as well with British audiences well accustomed to the deadpan humour of programmes like The Office and The Royle Family. It certainly provides a refreshing alternative to the Richard Curtis comedies that Britain’s film industry has been known for in recent years. Iannucci isn’t the only Scottish presence in the film, fellow Scot Peter Capaldi takes centre stage as spin doctor Malcolm Tucker. It’s exciting to have such a highly anticipated film with such fantastic local talent making its UK debut here in Glasgow. With a bit of glitz and glamour and a fine film to match, this year’s opening gala is likely to be one to remember.