The Death of Stalin
Out Now On-Demand
A comedy of a terrors.
Blistering satire from Veep creator Armando Iannucci chronicling the aftermath of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin's death in 1953. Stars Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor and Olga Kurylenko.
When tyrannical dictator Joseph Stalin drops dead, his parasitic cronies square off in a frantic power struggle to be the next Soviet leader. Among the contenders are the dweeby Georgy Malenkov (Tambor), the wily Nikita Khrushchev (Buscemi), and the sadistic secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria (Simon Russell Beale, Into the Woods). But as they bumble, brawl, and backstab their way to the top, just who is running the government?
- Armando Iannucci(TV's 'Veep', 'In The Loop', TV's 'I'm Alan Partridge')
Rating: R16 Violence, sexual references & offensive language
The inclusion of Michael Palin in Armando Iannucci's film brings to mind the terrifying character the Monty Python legend played in Brazil, Terry Gilliam’s wonderful 1980s satire of Orwellian angst and banality of evil fuckery.
The ‘sit’ for this ‘com’ flows from the death of Mr Stalin in 1953, possibly the most feared man of all time, infamous for his mammoth body count and his daily habit of drawing up lists of people to be shot or sent to the gulag.
Iannucci has taken the template he honed to perfection in his political satires The Thick of It, In The Loop and Veep and applied it here to ‘real’ history. There’s also more than a touch of his other co-pro, Alan Partridge, though the horror is on a slightly grander scale.
Historically speaking, you might say the dossier has been sexed up but I totally wallowed in the thing like a pig in muck, all the way from the weaponized language to the Weekend at Bernie's dead body LOLs.
The climate of fear that hangs in every scene is a ripe setting for a truly killer cast, Steve Buscemi at his best as Khrushchev, Jeffrey Tambor as the simpering Malenkov, Palin as Molotov, and Jason Isaacs who plays the shit out of General Zhukov, a belligerent bon vivant of epic proportions. Most terrifying of all is theatre actor Simon Russell Beale as Lavrentiy Beria.
It’s mostly a sausage sizzle save for the brilliant Andrea Riseborough as Stalin’s brittle daughter and Olga Kurylenko as pianist Maria Yudina.
Total Film (UK)
The Guardian (UK)
Stuff.co.nz (James Croot)
NZ Herald (Toby Woollaston)
Newsroom.co.nz (Darren Bevan)
Brilliant - go see it!
I loved this film. It was so absurd and yet so believable (altho' no-one can say this is what really happened when Stalin died). The writers and cast have done a great job (and the director too, I suppose). Lots of fun, go see it!
Brilliant, Black & Bloody
I've always loved Armando Iannucci's work and after hearing/reading UK reviews last year I was busting to see this.
Five months later it arrived in Tasmania and I have to say it was well worth the wait! The ensemble cast are very fine but for my money, Jason Isaacs steals the show.
If you like political satire laced with laugh out loud, jet black comedic moments, this is the film you've been waiting for. A must see!
Great Comedy about a Really Interesting Plot
I'm a huge fan of The Thick of It and In The Loop, so naturally I was very excited about watching The Death of Stalin. It lived up to the hype. The film is funny throughout and leaves you constantly asking "did this actually happen??" After a bit of Wikipedia research immediately after I had finished watching the film, the true story does seem as ridiculous as it is presented. Schemes, Politics, Assassinations...All the truly funny stuff. The dialogue is brilliant, as expected from Iannucci, and the cast do a fantastic job bringing it to life (accents and all).
My concern going into this film was that it would not pay due respect to the millions of people killed under Stalin's watch. However the film cleverly uses that absolute lack of respect for life as one of it's comedic devices, often to excellent effect. I found myself flipping from laughter to grimace. Lovers of Soviet history and Steve Buscemi should enjoy this.
Saying you saw this makes you sound smart!
The Death of Stalin sounds like a heavyweight arthouse number but the inspired casting, insane gags-per-minute count and straightforward storytelling mean it delivers a very enjoyable and easy to watch film. I can now talk with a little more knowledge of the events that immediately followed the death of Stalin!
Very very funny
Had a bloody great time watching this!
Incredible blend of comedy and tragedy
I loved the film, which expertly mixes spot-on humour with some incredibly grim situations. An odd-ball gem.
BEST LAUGH IN YEARS
Laughed from beginning to end. Great cast.
Great casting , a clever script and great one-liners make for an entertaining trip to the cinema. Recommended.
The Death of Historical Accuracy
Iannucci is proving once again that he is a modern writing auteur in than in the first few lines you can tell it's his dialogue. The films direction is slick and the characters interactions remain fresh and hilarious throughout the runtime and it doesn't bother to honour the actual events by having accurate accents etc. but that just makes it all the more funny.