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The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Director Armando Iannucci’s biopic, ‘The Death of Stalin.’

Title: The Death of Stalin 

Director: Armando Iannucci

Cast: Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Palin, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine, Andrea Riseborough, Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs, Adrian Mcloughlin, Paul Whitehouse, Paul Chahidi, Dermot Crowley, Justin Edwards, Richard Brake, Jonathan Aris, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, James Barriscale.

‘The Death of Stalin’ is a sagacious and piercing British-French period comedy-drama film, that chronicles the Soviet power struggles caused by the death of dictator Joseph Stalin in 1953. The film, directed by Armando Iannucci, is based on the graphic novel of the same name, translated from the French original ‘La mort de Staline.’

The cast gathers some of the most prominent actors in the world, like Steve Buscemi as Khrushchev, Simon Russell Beale as Beria, Jeffrey Tambor as Malenkov, Michael Palin as Molotov, Paul Whitehouse as Mikoyan, Jason Isaacs as Zhukov, Andrea Riseborough as Stalin’s daughter Svetlana, Rupert Friend as Stalin’s son Vasily, Paddy Considine as Andreyev, and Olga Kurylenko as pianist Maria Yudina.

The motion picture faithfully retraces Russian history, during the chaos of the regime after Stalin’s demise. Everything is done with witticism, caustic humour and morbid gags. The pace is rhythmic, although at times the movie seems to drag a little and never come to an end. However, the irreverent political satire of the black comedy is penetrating, as fictional moments (such as the opening scene where Radio Moscow re-stages a Mozart piano concerto to record the performance upon request of the great dictator), intertwine with grotesque moments when Stalin’s comrades confront each other. The theatricality of the scenes and interactions amongst the characters give the sensation of observing a cross-pollination between a jocular play and the surrealism of British television series, ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus.’

‘The Death of Stalin’ has recently won three British Independent Film Awards: Best Casting (Sarah Crowe), Best Make Up & Hair Design (Nicole Stafford), Best Production Design (Cristina Casali). This is bound to be just the beginning of the recognitions that will tribute the film, since a variety of components marked its success.

Technical: B-

Acting: B

Story: B+

Overall: B

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

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Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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