Death of Stalin (2017) will make you cackle if you have the patience to believe that it will make you cackle

by Banned Library in

Historic dramas have always been money in the bank. Get some well known actor, cover him in old looking stuff, and tell a fake story involving true people. Drama ensues because that's what people make. Get two or more people together and they shit themselves with drama. Historic comedies, though, are super rare because nobody wants to make people important enough to talk about into a bunch of raging assholes, aka real people. Death of Stalin doesn't mind so much.

    In communist Russia, Stalin ruled. We open on a scene where an orchestra must redo and entire concert because Stalin wants a recording. People are falling over themselves to please the man. Then he totally dies and the power vacuum is enough to pit everyone against everyone. Schemers, honorable men, and just idiots all vie for power in a satirical farce about the days after Stalin's death. Lead by a cadre of dramatic and comedic actors, the film wants to be more than it is at times.

    Just after Stalin dies, all the men that formed his governing council begin to trickle into the room. They all moan and are surprised and kneel down in pain right into the same puddle of pee because Stalin, like most do, peed himself at death. The joke is intertwined with snappy dialog about whether they should get a doctor or a committee for the doctor and who should be told and when and each men continues to squish squish in the dictator's urine. It's symbolic of the film as a whole. A weird idea repeated among moments of brilliance that continues to cause both laughter and dull desensitized responses in turn. The movie revolves around this, along with shocking moments of black comedy violence, that make it worth watching yet not worth quoting at the dinner party.