If you hadn't noticed,
When the film opens Stalin seems in fine health, signing away the lives of perceived enemies. However (this is not a spoiler) he is soon dead and leaves behind a power vacuum. When it looks like the monstrous head of the secret police (NKVD), Beria, may become leader, a scramble begins to prevent this.
The cast is uniformly great, with the filmmaker making the spot on decision to allow the actors to keep their own accents: not a painful 'Russian' accent anywhere to be heard, and still we feel the diversity of the
There has always been an air of desperation that undercuts Iannucci's comedy, be it in Alan Patridge's constant pursuit of the recognition and success he believes he deserves, or the scrabbling fury that Malcolm Tucker uses to contain whatever is the latest omnishambles in The Thick of It. Yet here the stakes are raised excruciatingly high. There is a stench of, well, death in The Death of Stalin, given greater impact because, broadly speaking, everything really happened. The people who die actually died. I have already had a debate with my colleague over whether this is a comedy (she says it is, I say it isn't). But if you need a reference point, imagine if
This is a brilliant work of cinema. The kind of bleak cinema that hits the back of the throat like Russian vodka. A particularly strong ensemble navigate the comedic moments as well as those of harrowing tragedy. It is a film that cries out for debate, that acts as a warning, one that entertains and chills in equal measures.