Movie Review: Go See “The Death of Stalin”

By | April 12, 2018

Go see this movie. I almost don’t even want to discuss it with anyone until they’ve watched. Seriously, don’t watch a trailer. Don’t look up a cast list. Just go in cold, and be grateful you did, and know that the tonally-misleading title makes it sound like much, much more of a “sit” than it is.

What Works: All I can tell you is that this is set right before and right after the death of Joseph Stalin and it is hilarious. If that sentence alone doesn’t inspire you to watch the most truthful, bracing comedy in years I don’t know what will. This film layers in real truths about power, succession, the paranoia of leadership, how reformers get corrupted, and overall life in the Soviet Union (despite having a mostly British cast with a few Americans). It does all this while maintaing a laugh-per-minute ratio more impressive than “Game Night” or just about any other comedy you’ve seen this year.

What Doesn’t: Nope, not gonna do it. Not going to give you an “out” to avoid this movie.

What I Would’ve Done Differently: I know the title and subject matter aren’t totally appealing for everyone, but you will be so glad you saw comedic actors like Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Palin, and a shockingly hilarious Rupert Friend at the top of their game. And if Steve Buscemi (so unlikely and winning as Nikita Krushev) and Jason Isaacs don’t receive Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor nominations, there’s no justice in this world. Of course, we already know there isn’t–which is why this film’s acidic wit has the added benefit of being true. This is one of the year’s most unexpected and fantastic films.

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