With The Death of Stalin writer/director Armando Iannucci has crafted a fine tale that deftly walks a tightrope of emotions, veering from the truly ghastly to the hilarious.
It takes liberties with history, but as a vehicle of delivery for the paranoia that existed it’s extremely effective. Everyone is looking out for themselves and everyone must watch their back.
The cast is wonderful, with an array of talent from Hollywood to British TV getting every drop from their roles. Pleasingly no one even tries to cover their natural accent, so we have American’s talking to Londoners; this creative choice pulled me further in rather than distance me from proceedings.
Rupert Friend is hilarious as Stalin’s drunk son, whilst Jason Issacs’s Field Marshal nearly steals the show. But there must be special mention of Simon Russell Beale’s Beria. I got a strong whiff of V for Vendetta’s Peter Creedy from him; as head of some of the more unsavoury aspects of the regime he was privy to information that made him a threat to everyone. Beale manages to be extremely intimidating and continues to morph throughout the film.
I wasn’t planning on seeing this film but I’m so glad I did. Even if you have no interest in history there’s something here, because ultimately, it’s a group of people dealing with a situation and that’s something we can all relate to. A fantastically grim satirical comedy.