The Death of Stalin – Film Club Review

thedeathofstalinIn a film that’s not afraid to give away the central plot with the title, The Death of Stalin is a bold satire that delves into the last days of the Soviet dictator and the chaos that follows.

Title: The Death of Stalin
Genre: Comedy
Classification: MA15+
Director: Armando Iannucci

When tyrannical dictator Joseph Stalin dies in 1953, his parasitic cronies square off in a frantic power struggle to become the next Soviet leader.
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In general, did people enjoy this film?

For the most part this was a well-received film. One of the main points that was raised was that it felt more like a play or a television show rather than a film. Which is not surprising given Iannucci’s background in TV (Veep). Whether this is seen as negative or positive it just doesn’t seem as grand as one might expect from a movie. There was also the question of whether having some knowledge of the history – the events and persons involved – might give you more of an appreciation of both the film and humour, that perhaps the jokes land better if you have some more context for them. Overall it seems this is a film you’ll either love or hate, and given the fact that the title and the cast give you some idea as to what you’re in for, it’s unlikely that you’ll go in unsure and come out surprised.

What did they like / not like about it?

The concept of a farce about a significant political event, with the actors all using their own accents, appealed to me a lot. However, apart from some good laughs here and there, Death of Stalin didn’t have a lot else going for it. I struggled to get fully immersed in this, perhaps because there was nothing particularly cinematic about it, and it often felt like a TV or sketch comedy show. I also don’t have much knowledge about the real life events this film is about, which may have held me back from appreciating the humour fully. That said, the film was still funny, and coupled with great performances by the whole cast (particularly Buscemi and Beale), I definitely had a good time with it. - Liam

It’s a brilliant and farcical satire on the absurdity and power-hungry idiocy of the Soviet Union. As a Latvian and being well versed in what the USSR was responsible for, it made me happy to see such fun being made of these atrocious people. - Lukas

I didn’t really enjoy this film that much. I could see the moments where it was being funny, but for some reason the humor didn’t hit with me and I found myself not being very invested in the story line or characters. Perhaps if I knew more about the real people and events I would’ve found it a more interesting watch. Mali

Keywords used to describe this movie:

Satirical. Theatrical. Farcical. Clever. Well-paced. Comedic. Dry. History. Farce. Political. True-story.

Would people recommend it to a friend?

Perhaps… If they were into political satire, or had some knowledge of the history.

Average rating:

3-stars

 

 

 

What did you think of The Death of Stalin? We’d love to hear your thoughts! And make sure you stay up to date with the films so you can join in the conversation next fortnight.

 

 

And the next film is…

Title: Mary MagdaleneSDC_2369993_2018-22-6--00-15-16
Genre: Drama
Classification: M
Director: Garth Davis

The biblical biopic tells the story of Mary (Rooney Mara), a young woman in search of a new way of living. Constricted by the hierarchies of the day, Mary defies her traditional family to join a new social movement led by the charismatic Jesus of Nazareth (Joaquin Phoenix). She soon finds a place for herself within the movement and at the heart of a journey that will lead to Jerusalem.