The Death of Stalin has bee created by Armando Iannucci and David Schneider. You can expect the foul language and biting dark humour of Iannucci’s various television projects for which he is famous.
A large cast of recognisable actors inhabit the characters at the top of Russians political and military hierarchy. These include Jason Isaacs, Andrea Riseborough, Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambour, Michael Palin and Paul Whitehouse.
The events before and after the death of Stalin are treated as a pantomime of opposing ambitions, jealousy and incompetence. However, custard pies are replaced by copious numbers of executions. Running in parallel are stories of families torn open by divisions, massacres and exploitation.
On top of this is the paranoid fear of Stalin that is ingrained into the population, from politicians to musicians and housekeepers who looked after him. This is made believable by not making the actors adopt stereotypical Russian accents. Their natural voices are used to great effect to portray the mix of regions they came from within Russia. It also makes the cacophony of arguing voices easier to follow.
In our age of less than conventional politicians, it is only too easy to suspect the events as shown in this film, may be underplaying the reality of what really happened when Stalin died.
This is a well made political satire. Four out of five stars awarded.