Title: The Death of Stalin
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Armando Iannucci
Starring: Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Jeffrey Tambor
Runtime: 1 hr 47 mins
What It Is: A satirical look at the death of General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin). As his advisors, Georgy Malenkov (Tambor) and Nikita Khrushchev (Buscemi) battle for power loyalties will come into question. With their leader now deceased the Soviet Union is thrown into chaos. Their enemies possibly coming after them as they deal with either weak Malenkov or the far from ready Khrushchev.
What We Think: The satire here is ridiculously sharp. Everyone here is at their highest peak of performance. Iannucci, of course, directs this with a tongue firmly in cheek. Obviously given his history with the television show Veep the political arena is handled well. I love how they took the “none of these people are actually Russian gag” as if it wasn’t a thing at all. That made for a bevy of hilarious moments. The actual death of Stalin was handled with the grace of a galloping elephant, once again a pitch-perfect play by Iannucci. Buscemi is the guy that steals the whole film. Looking and feeling very Peter Sellers circa Dr. Strangelove with this. That the vibe I got anyway.
Our Grade: B+, I can without stuttering recommend this film. It’s funny and ridiculous and all the things a good satire should be. Taking a truly odd premise and running it about without a care in the world it hits more then it misses. This is smart comedy, well-thought-out in it’s creation and painstakingly put together in its performance. A solid comedy that keeps it a bit more highbrow is something 2018 has been missing. Given two of the years funniest thus far are the far more…raunchy Game Night and Blockers. Those two were absolutely fantastic, as was this just…in a different way.