The Death of Stalin Movie Review
So, The Death of Stalin. It’s a movie with a great cast, and it’s a movie that exists. A self-declared “political comedy,” it’s an off kilter look at the final days of Joseph Stalin, only told with a bunch of non-Russian actors such as Steve Buscemi and Jeffrey Tambor.
It’s also barely a comedy, and not very good.
From the writer and director of In the Loop, another comedy that I didn’t find funny but that a lot of other people did, The Death of Stalin is what appears to be a semi-historically accurate accounting of the behind-the-scenes scheming and power struggle that occurred after the Soviet leader passed away, only with heightened dialogue and character portrayals intended to paint the situation in a more amusing light.
Aside from a few witty comments that elicited a few chuckles, The Death of Stalin unfortunately is a comedically flat film that seems stuck in limbo between historical drama and comedy (and frankly, would have been more compelling as a drama). While it has entertaining stretches, the movie largely gestates dialogue that is intended to evoke laughter but simply doesn’t. And as a result, the longer it goes, the more tedious it gets.
The Death of Stalin may appeal to people with a deep love of Russian history or those with a taste for extremely dry humor, but this is one comedy in which you can skip the service.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.