Stalin Is Dead! And with The Soviet Union's top job now up for grabs, the men in Stalin's council are about to enter an 'interview' process unlike any other. With the prospect of absolute authority over the nation within grasp, in the days that follow, devious plotting and farcical backs tabbing are fair play, and one man will emerge with supreme power over the USSR. The question is: who?
- The Death of Stalin review by JS
Against much opinion I found this film to be essentially very boring with a Monty Python/Daily Mail view of Russia and actually quite offensive to all those millions of people who must have suffered immeasurably under Stalin's rule. OBVIOUSLY I know it is a black comedy, and therefore to be taken as such, but essentially it spins out one joke-what it actually must have been like to be there as a member of the "Government" when Stalin died and how to react in such bizarre circumstances- and spin this out for however how long. The West unfortunately has a completely one sided view of Russia and Eastern Europe most of the time and all films like this will do is to play to the prejudices and stereo types of "little Englanders" in reinforcing their brain dead views.
Superb movie. Very clever take on an historic event, the death of Stalin. Very, very funny, the cast are great ( special mention of Michael Palin ) and full use of black comedy to highlight the atrocities of the Regime.
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful.
Shockingly horrific and funny at the same time
- The Death of Stalin review by AL
To be able to create a comedy about such a violent and shocking time is quite a task and they have succeeded. I think having the actors using whatever accents they liked is stroke of genius and perfect casting. I may need to buy this one for repeat viewing.
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful.
This French-style comedy is not nearly as funny as it thinks it is
- The Death of Stalin review by PV
I would advise everyone to watch the BBC1 1983 TV movie RED MONARCH which is all about the death of Stalin too, but MUCH better than this slapstick version.
It was no surprise to me to read at the end that this movie is based on a French graphic novel - and funded mostly by French film and TV companies. It was directed by Arnando Ianucci (massively over-rated comic Scottish writer in my opinion) BUT he did not create it - the whole thing is based on a French comic strip so the humour is VERY French - very visual, very Jaques Tati (who I have always found boring and unfunny), very French.
But this is also clearly for an American audience - hence the many US actors parachuted in. I found those accents very distracting, though liked the use of British regional accents which would hold true (I used to love it when Eurotrash used strong regional accents from the UK for any voice over of foreigners because it's funny and accurate! People have regional accents).
If you like that, fine. And there is no doubt the cast here is stellar and it's not without funny and cringe-worthy - though very stagey and wordy - moments. However, rent out RED MONARCH if you want to see a really hilarious filmed version of Stalin's death and the aftermath.
This film and everyone it is clearly thinks it is far more funny than it is. 2 stars. Just.
0 out of 5 members found this review helpful.
Ignore the haters. This is a very good film.
- The Death of Stalin review by LH
Wow. I guess humour is a highly personal thing given some of the po-faced reviews above. I know that this film has been banned in Russia and this itself drew me to want to watch it! (One just wonders about the independence of some of the comments above... That's all I'll say on that.)
I loved this film. Very funny in a very dark way, which I guess won't please all of the people all of the time, but definitely appeals to my sense of humour. I found the cast to be absolutely first rate. The accents didn't bother me at all... What would have annoyed me would have been any attempt at cod Russian accents. I loved the way the film unfolded and the twists and turns of the political intrigue. Whilst I accept that it's probably not entirely factually correct, it doesn't claim to be a documentary. It's a comedy. It does bring home the horrors of Stalin's brutal paranoid reign of terror and the purges and the families destroyed at the stroke of a pen on to a list. It has made me want to learn more about this period of history and I fully intend to.
7 out of 7 members found this review helpful.
- The Death of Stalin review by JH
I expected a lot of this film given all the publicity surrounding it on release. Sadly found it extremely boring and we barely raised a laugh between us .
0 out of 4 members found this review helpful.
Very funny and hard hitting film
- The Death of Stalin review by DL
Some people seem to have taken this film as a realistic portrait of the events..which, of course it is not..it is a comedic version of what might have happened, given what we have since learned of the nature of the Stalin regime.
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.
Interesting but not funny to us
- The Death of Stalin review by DM
Maybe if we knew more about what was being parodied we might have found it funny. However it was more dark and commenting than funny to us. Certainly showed the fickle and fearful environment of the time and place.
0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.
A film that makes you laugh, and then question your humanity
- The Death of Stalin review by Champ
This might be the blackest of black comedies that I've ever seen - but to call it a comedy pigeon-holes it and undersells it.
I really enjoyed it, but I felt a little uncomfortable in my enjoyment. Some of the events referenced and depicted are so awful, that laughing at the way they are satirised just feels wrong! But it's a sign of the supreme skill of Armando Ianucci's writing and directing that he's managed to pull this off. I should stress that this film is much more than a satire, and I while Beria, Kruschev, Molotov and Zhukov are names I knew from history, I didn't know about Malenkov, or Stalin's son and daughter, who I then went and read about them.
In a way it's a lesson from history, about how power can utterly corrupt and destroy the things it professes to value.