Benjamin Maio Mackay
The Death of Stalin - 4 Stars
Remarkably powerful, compelling and ultimately funny.
Follows the Soviet dictator's last days and depicts the chaos of the regime after his death.
It does feel odd to be laughing at anything about the Soviet Union, considering the horrific acts committed by them. The only reason the film is funny is that it clearly understands the significance of the events it’s dealing with. Armando Iannucci has written a script that highlights the lack of cohesion in the socialist ranks of the soviet union and their blatant disregard of life (especially in their own ranks). The script is sensitive, witty and demonstrates the farcical nature of the Russian government during Stalin’s reign.
The cast are exceptional with Simon Russel-Beale, Michael Palin, Jeffrey Tambour, Steve Buscemi and Jason Isaacs starring. Each is brilliant in their role and the film does well not to get caught in the complexity of the issue, while still discussing the politics happening around the time of Stalin’s rise. It’s difficult to actually establish who the most evil person was, each was out for themselves.
Overall a very clever, very funny and ultimately moving portrayal of soviet Russia.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Picture This