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The Death of Stalin

Rated 14 Accompaniment (Coarse Language, Disturbing Content) ~ Runs 105 minutes

Dir.: Armando Iannucci, UK

Jason Isaacs, Steve Buscemi, Andrea Riseborough, Michael Palin

“I consider writer-director Armando Iannucci to be a comic genius. The creator of Veep cut his teeth in British TV comedy... Now comes an even more ambitious endeavor, The Death of Stalin, depicting the aftermath of the notorious Soviet dictator’s demise. It is brilliant and hilarious, a delicious mélange of political satire and farce. The premise is straightforward: Josef Stalin dies by choking in his office one night. When his body is discovered the next morning, his closest colleagues gather and frantically jockey for power, exposing their own peccadilloes while sabotaging each other’s chances to become Russia’s supreme leader... The filmmakers don’t assume we know anything about the history they are depicting; you don’t have to take an entrance exam to enjoy their movie. What’s more, they aren’t afraid to be outlandish or silly. The cast is daunting, to put it mildly. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to choose Steve Buscemi to play Nikita Krushchev, but he is superb, an adjective that applies equally to Jeffrey Tambor, Simon Russell Beale, Michael Palin, Jason Isaacs, Rupert Friend, Paddy Considine, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, and the other members of the ensemble. Beale is overwhelming in his ferocious interpretation of Levrenti Beria, the wiliest and nastiest man in the Soviet Politbureau. Adrian McLoughlin sets the movie on its comedic course with his wholly unexpected take on Stalin. I have seen this movie twice in six months’ time and would readily watch it again. Iannucci conducts the proceedings like the conductor of a great orchestra with an array of virtuosos at his command. The Death of Stalin is a breath of fresh air and a genuinely great screen comedy.” - Leonard Maltin, leonardmaltin.com



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June 17