“The Death of Stalin” – review

Donoven Rudberg, Contributing writer

With director Armando Iannucci’s return to the big screen after HBO’s “Veep,” “The Death of Stalin,” based on the French graphic novel, seemed almost coincidental in the timing with the series.
Instead of satirizing the modern political landscape, it took the time to show what it was like under Stalin’s iron grip.
If you have not guessed it already, Stalin bites the dust with Georgy Malenkov, Nikita Khrushchev, Lavrentiy Beria and others shocked and unsure that their glorious leader has died.
So begins a cut-throat play for power and how the future of the USSR will unfold.
Even then, it was a dark and unsettling period where if your name was on a list you were marked for death. Iannucci wished to make a satire, and knew he had to respect, and show truthfully how brutal it can be when he said “we cannot ignore it and cannot hide it, and we would have to deal with it truthfully, and to show how it was like.”
Throughout the film, the political banter shines, and the comedy truly shows taking the time away from the cruel and disheartening setting in an almost-natural way as the leaders schemed and took actions that would affect the lives of their citizens.
Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin” brings to us the blend of political satire, and a glimpse into the fearful and turbulent times of the USSR under Stalin’s reign and the aftermath of his death.
Neither the comedy or dark nature breaks the harmony in the flow and pacing of the movie.
The more you look into it, the more you can see the parallels between the politics of today and of an extinct authoritarian regime showing that one isn’t necessarily that different from the other.

4/5 Stars