Tuesday, April 10, 2018

[Review] The Death of Stalin

The Death of Stalin is a rousing, jabbing, and biting satirical comedy that crackles and explodes with unabashed raucousness. It's an absolute riot.

Following the cartoonish death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, the proceedings dive into the frenzied aftermath and head-butting power struggles between a governing ensemble played by the likes of Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Jeffrey Tambor, Jason Isaacs, Rupert Friend, and Andrea Riseborough.

The film is greatly orchestrated by writer-director Armando Iannucci -- the guy responsible for 2009's hilarious send-up In the Loop and HBO's hit political comedy "Veep". So as you'd expect, this film is teeming with quick-witted and foul-mouthed dialogue, hilarious spats between eccentric characters, and phenomenal comic timing by a fully game cast (Steve Buscemi in particular, is a hoot!). And there's always something inherently hysterical about a bunch of frazzled and out-of-shape white guys running around in screwball fashion.

It's impressive how this thing hits so many different layers and levels of comedy all at once. It's both mercilessly farcical and shamelessly slap-sticky -- and like the best pieces of satire, it strikes some ugly truths on hyperbolic and operatic levels that you just can't help but laugh at -- it's as if the film is constantly squeezing the chuckles out of you in the best and most effortless way.

The Death of Stalin makes us wonder exactly what goes on behind closed doors during a shaken-up political world, and by the sounds of it, this film isn't that much of an exaggeration...

* 8.5/10 *

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