The Death of Stalin

R, 107 minutes
Thu, Jun 21 at 9:00pm

 

The one-liners fly as fast as political fortunes fall in this uproarious, wickedly irreverent satire from Armando Iannucci (Veep, In the Loop). Moscow, 1953: when tyrannical dictator Joseph Stalin drops dead, his parasitic cronies square off in a frantic power struggle to be the next Soviet leader. Among the contenders are the dweeby Georgy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor), the wily Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi), and the sadistic secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria (Simon Russell Beale). But as they bumble, brawl, and backstab their way to the top, just who is running the government? Combining palace intrigue with rapid-fire farce, this audacious comedy is a bitingly funny takedown of bureaucratic dysfunction performed to the hilt by a sparkling ensemble cast. (2018, Armando Iannucci, 107 mins, English, CC available, R, DCP)

“It never asks us to laugh at cruelty; it does make us laugh at the absurd pettiness and ultimate small-mindedness of the men perpetrating that cruelty. And Iannucci is a superb ringmaster.” — Glenn Kenny, RogerEbert.com

“It isn’t history but free-range fiction, a venomous farce containing nuggets of fact, and if its subjects bear any resemblance to present-day dictators and authoritarian mugs or thugs around the world, then the movie has hit its archetypal target.” — Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

The Death of Stalin is by turns entertaining and unsettling, with laughs that morph into gasps and uneasy gasps that erupt into queasy, choking laughs. — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times


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