The Death Of Stalin has reached the top with its fast-paced drama and punching one-liners
No filmmaker will ever be able to match the outstanding ability Armando Iannucci has at creating political satire. The Death Of Stalin is an absolutely glorious journey through the height of Soviet politics, as Stalin’s successor is chosen in the most chaotic fashion. With back-stabbing, name-calling and genuine meltdowns, Iannucci captures the mayhem perfectly as he shows just how ridiculous politics actually is.
When Stalin (Adrian Mcloughlin) dies on March 5, 1953, his successor is unclear. As his political cabinet arrange themselves, they begin to scheme and plot against each other. With Georgy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor) taking temporary charge, Lavrentiy Beria (Simon Russel Beale) and Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi) make sure they are in the right positions to snatch the power from him. What follows is a twisted, ever-changing environment where literally anyone could end up running the Union.
What Iannucci has created is a satire so close to the bone, it feels bitingly real, yet shockingly farcical. Former Prime Minister David Cameron even suggested to Jason Isaacs that ‘he could barely contain his surprise and horror and joy’ when watching the film for its pure relatability to modern day Downing Street. It is his understanding that sets Iannucci apart from the rest.
This is obviously encouraged by an incredible cast, with the specific highlight being Simon Russel Beale and his conniving and frankly ridiculous turn on Lavrentiy Beria, whose childish squabbles with Buschemi’s Nikita Khrushchev are as idiotic as they are hilarious. Combining the chaos behind Stalin with the uncertainty around his death is what the actors have managed to portray most entertainingly. Not a single member of the cast lets down their guard in creating a completely ridiculous but structurally serious film.
The comedy is outstanding, the cast work as a team and the script is enticing and informative. As far as historical comedies go The Death Of Stalin has reached the top with its fast-paced drama and punching one-liners. In fact, The film is far more informative than 90% historical dramas anyway.