The Death of Stalin
Director: Armando Iannucci
Cast: Jason Isaacs, Olga Kurylenko, Steve Buscemi, Rupert Friend, Andrea Riseborough
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Country of Origin: France-UK 2017 106 mins. (15)
Released by e One
When Stalin (Adrian McLaughlin) phones radio producer Andreyev (Paddy Considine) asking for a recording of a piano concerto with Maria Yudina (Olga Kurylenko), it's panic mode. There isn't a recording. Re-perform and record, 'Don't worry, nobody's going to get killed.' Choose your words carefully in Stalin's Soviet Union or it could be a gulag or a bullet on the back of the head.
Adapted from Fabian Nury and Thierry Robin's graphic novel, Armando Iannucci's 'The Death of Stalin' drips black humour. It's 1953 and Stalin's died. Disbelief. God's don't die. Stalin has died and lies in a puddle of urine and a power game begins.
And the players in this game. Blood drenched Beria (Simon Russell Beale), the evil at the centre of this heart of darkness, Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi) who'll play for the big time, Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambar), heir apparent, vain, foolish and Beria's pawn, the preening fool Molotov gleefully played by Michael Palin, Stalin's booze addled son Varily (Rupert Friend) and his daughter Svetlana (Andrea Riseborough) and bemedalled, hardman Zhukov (Jason Isaacs), 'I f..... Germany,' Head of the Red Army. Beria, Khrushchev and Malenkov go for the crown.
Fast forward to the Kremlin's approved version of Russian history and a strong man at the top of the Russian power game. Power, ego, corruption. What's changed?
A superb cast, tragedy and farce intermingle in a stunning, hilarious satire without a fake Russian accent to be heard. Wonderful. It's definitely in the should see, must see box.