Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Death Of Stalin (2017) Film Review
The Death Of Stalin
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
Extracting the urine from the last Labour government (The Thick Of It) and The White House (Veep) before Trump, who doesn't need a satirist, being self taught in the art of the awful, is Armando Iannucci's thing.
What's "a thing" to a born-and-bred Glaswegian? Ask Billy Connolly. They share a talent for dissing authority. This time Iannucci's target is the USSR at a pivotal stage of its evolution.
As the title suggests the demise of Uncle Joe is when chaos enters the room. Members of the politburo are at each other's throats. Leading the cadres of conspirators is a slimmed down Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi), plotting like a pea in a pancake.
Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor) is weak and Beria (Simon Russell Beale) brutal. Zhukov (Jason Isaacs) is narcissistic and Molotov (Michael Palin) seeks a quiet life (with dog). Stalin's grown up children - alcoholic Vasily (Rupert Friend) and feisty Svetlana (Andrea Riseborough) - are symbols of continuity to be wheeled out whenever appropriate.
No one is happy. No one is safe. No one knows what is going on, or where to hide. The communist ideal cut its throat after Trotsky was iced and its corpse lies buried in the memory of a nation.
Stalin's body is carried in a coffin on the shoulders of his scheming cohorts.
"Gold is heavy."
Khrushchev has the energy and determination to follow through. He doesn't wait to be asked. He plays the game having made up the rules. Beria has the brains. Like a man used to killing, hands red with blood, he believes power comes from the bullet and the blade. Unification and betrayal are one and the same.
Never trust a friend. Never have a friend.
The drama is intense and yet The Death Of Stalin is a comedy. If you have ever laughed at the headmaster when he slips on an egg yoke this movie is for you. The script unzips protocol, exposing the naked farce of political intrigue, with two fingers up the rump of Lenin's ghost.
Life begins in fear and ends in laughter. Is this not a perfect way to view the tragedy of human nature?Reviewed on: 14 Oct 2017
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