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The Death of Stalin$11.50
The Death of Stalin – (dir. Armando Iannucci)
West Mall 7 Theatres – Doors Open 6:00pm – Film Begins 6:30pm
TRT: 107 min
Rating: R (language, violence, sexual references)
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Black Comedy
Starring: Steven Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor, Paddi Considine, Jason Isaacs, Rupert Friend
Film Summary: The one-liners fly as fast as political fortunes fall in this uproarious, wickedly irreverent satire from Armando Iannucci (Creator of TV’s Veep and 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.
What the critics are saying:
As Stanley Kubrick did with Dr. Strangelove, Iannucci has built a satire not by twisting the truth but by nudging reality just a few inches further in the direction it was already going.
– Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice
It’s often raucously hilarious, neatly crafted, sometimes visually striking, packed with excellent performances and abrasively profane dialogue. Most significant of all, it’s true.
– Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Director and co-writer Armando Iannucci puts it all on black (comedy), betting that the vast discrepancy between great power and small souls will make you laugh at the absurdity of it all – or at least not scream in horror.
– Matthew Lickona, San Diego Reader
The laughs come in jolts and waves in “The Death of Stalin,” delivered in a brilliantly arranged mix of savage one-liners, lacerating dialogue and perfectly timed slapstick that wouldn’t be out of place in a Three Stooges bit. Turning horror into comedy is nothing new, but Mr. Iannucci’s unwavering embrace of these seemingly discordant genres as twin principles is bracing. In “The Death of Stalin,” fear is so overwhelming, so deeply embedded in everyday life that it distorts ordinary expression, utterances, gestures and bodies. It has turned faces into masks (alternately tragic and comic), people into caricatures, death into a punch line.
– Mahnola Dargis, New York Times
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