Review: The Death of Stalin, 2018, dir. Armando Iannucci

Well, I reckon that since I talked to Armando Iannucci about his new film, it’s only proper that I review it, too. So I did. It’s not my first time at the  Iannucci rodeo, after all, so if I’m going to go in on The Death of Stalin, I’m going to go all-in. (Or something.)

I’ll say this: The Death of Stalin didn’t sit with me as easily as Iannucci’s other work tends to, and this is almost entirely because it’s a satirical movie based on actual, real, genuine, legit terrible things that happened in the past. At times it’s almost too grim for words, but the history it covers is also too grim for words; the idea that The Death of Stalin should somehow lighten up its subject matter does its subject matter a massive injustice. A film like this, frankly, shouldn’t send you away smiling, or if it does, the smile should be pinched at the corners. 

And that’s what The Death of Stalin does, and that’s one reason among many that I hold it such high esteem (and why I felt compelled to bang out a review for Paste Magazine in time for the Boston premiere).


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