*** Warning: Spoiler Alert ***
The Death of Stalin is described as a comedy-drama and that is exactly where the problem lies. It’s too funny to be a drama, but to serious to be a comedy. I didn’t know what to make of it. The fact that it is based on true events makes it a sad movie.
The cast is a great one and there are some brilliant performances. I liked Steve Buscemi in the role of Nikita Krushchev, Simon Russell Beale as Lavrentiy Beria, and Jason Isaacs portraying Georgy Zhukov. There are many more great performances by Jeffrey Tambor, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Palin, and Paddy Considine to name a few.
The weird thing was that some of the actors talked with a severe Cockney dialect (correct me if I’m wrong. I’m a layman in this respect). I assume there are dialects in Russian too, but to hear the thick English accent in the very Russian surroundings made it a very weird experience.
There are a lot of funny scenes. For example, when Beria gives out orders, there are people being shot, shoved off stairs, or otherwise maimed in the background. It’s not laugh-out-loud funny, but it makes it all rather slapstick-like. The whole experience of not speaking out against the regime is also funny and sad at the same time.
It is an entertaining movie that is mainly funny, but not Hollywood-style. You can follow the story-line without a problem even when you’re a person who knows nothing of post-world-war Russia, like me.