The Death of Stalin

by missizziemcguinness

‘Stalin’s dead,’ 

Armando Iannuchi directs The Death of Stalin, a satire film that follows Stalin’s final days and the chaos that irrupts the days after his death. It stars Micheal Palin, Paddy Constantine, Rupert Friend, Andrea Risenbourgh and Steve Buscemi, among many other famous faces.

As a huge fan of Rupert Friend, I was reluctant to wait to see this movie in my local Vue cinema. Indeed, Friend played the part of Stalin’s spoilt son Vasily incredibly well in the scenes that he was in (he was in a lot less scenes than I thought but he still took over the screen with his screen presence when he was in the film). I was thoroughly engrossed in the film while I was watching it. It’s one of those films that you have no idea what is going on while watching the film, but it all comes together afterwards. Most of the humour came from the comic timing, and it is more about what you don’t see than what you see (even though the burning body scene was rather unexpected). I don’t know if it’s just me but a lot of Friend’s characters seem to have some form of a drinking problem, the character of Vasily included, and all of his lines were funny. He does, however, play them incredibly well and I hope to see him in more roles in the future. As for the other actors, I thought that Steve Buscemi was rather good, and I did not realize how many noteable films that he was in until I looked on his IMDB page later on. I spent some time after the movie quoting parts of the film to family members.

My only issue with the film that it eventually felt a bit rushed, though that did not seem to matter in my overall film experience. Likewise, it did have rather clever visuals and the costumes were superb. From what I read, the director clearly did his research, and the historical accuracy is good (the quote that Stalin’s daughter- played by Andrea Risenbourgh- says about ‘why couldn’t he shoot himself like mother’ is in fact true to life) but if I wanted accuracy, I would watch a Stalin documentary, not a satire film.

Overall, a thouroughly enjoyable satire film with some great famous faces and a few laughable moments scattered throughout the movie. I would highly recommend it.