At a time when any anxious newsreader might wonder if the incipient authoritarianism around the globe might be too bumbling and incompetent to throw us into a dark age, here comes a film about how you can fall ass backwards into dystopia. It's not nearly the film it could have been given the talent involved—it lacks the density of wit of Iannucci's best work, and the final pivot deserves much more substantive satire.
A reckless film. I remember having good fun with In the Loop's up-tempo humor, but also that all characters seemed to have the same sarcastic voice. There's that here... and worse. The mix of silly humor and tragic events on the frame of history doesn't add up. Another film would have made fun of Stalinism; this one ridicules every soviet in it without respect for the country or history. And it hardly made me laugh.
One of the best political comedies ever this side of Lubitsch's To Be or Not To Be. A triumvirate including Buscemi (forget Fargo and The Sopranos - this is his highest high height), Tambor and Palin was a quite unlikely trio. It just got real: thankfully so. Beria is the most disgusting evil-doer I've seen on film. A film that points out a real-life mass serial-rapist in a #MeToo era> wish he'd died s l o w l y.
Ca aurait pu être une comédie à la Monthy Python, mais l'humour noir s'appesantit et tourne en rond. Il y avait pourtant une belle idée dans cette satire du politburo. Est-ce l'exagération ou la comédie qui est de trop ? Je ne sais pas. Mais on ne rigole pas beaucoup.
What impresses the most is how this comedy is as funny as it is bone chilling. Iannucci doesn’t pull any punches in the depiction of the brutality towards an oppressed people, and as the body count increases and the power shifts from Khrushchev to Beria and back, there’s a sense of looming threat, which is often undercut by Iannucci’s deliciously sardonic dialog.
The frightening relevancy of Death is its link between ineptness and sanctioned brutality. These observations play out in the film's broader early scenes - amusing if well worn by Armando. As it progresses it becomes a denser and harsher work. I felt that it seemed like a brilliant evocation of a historical and cultural attitude, but one I did not like or find funny. No less good for that.
Unusual choices at first glance, the casting serves the film well. Buscemi et al. provide charming performances. They're unfortunately working with a script that is not firing on all cylinders – I wish Iannucci had thought to have some of the top-notch writers from The Thick of It/In The Loop give this film that extra punch it so desperately needs.
Can we cool it with the DI greytone? We get it, it's Russia, it should "look cold," but god damn is this rigidly enforced dreariness a bummer to look at. Also, there are a few lulz to be had, and I get that being tonally inconsistent (Monty Python meets mass murder!) is kind of the point, but it is a very British humor that rules over the proceedings. What it "says about today" - "USSR was evil." And so are we.
A farce with its lighthearted-buffoonery characterizations, but a serious satire in its deconstructions of political power struggles. The Death of Stalin is nearly-always funny. Its only problem is its lack of emotional and dramatic stakes, due to its uneven character's end goal only being who's the future ruler of the Soviet Union, something that it neither makes the viewer complacent or adverse to stake wise.
For a satire to work, you need to know what you are satirizing. Sadly once again the thunderous applauses of angloamerican press silence disagreements and dissenting opinions, forcing the general audience to think of this movie as something deeper than what it is: a shallow -and culturally ignorant- fart in space
Part of me really admires this dark (often savage) political satire, since they don't come along that often. Unfortunately, Iannucci never finds the balance between acknowledging the real-life awful actions of these despicable people and making it comedic. It's hard to laugh at a scene of shtick when it's immediately proceeded by something like a mass execution scene. It's more audacious than it is actually funny.
A dark comedy about the end of Stalinism is like hearing they made Pol Pot The Musical: sort of hard to wrap your brain around. There're some funny bits and excellent performances all around especially Isaacs, Tambor, and Buscemi but I personally wished it had have gone for a zanier tone a la Monty Python. This felt too grounded in the reality of the horror of the purges to put me in much of a chuckling mood.