It’s 1953 and our story takes place in Russia – then known as the Soviet Union – a nation terrorised by their communist leader Joseph Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin). But this is not a story about the inhumane acts of oppression and cruelty in his regime that resulted in the death of millions, it’s about the events that occurred both immediately prior and following his shocking death from an apparent stroke at the age of 74.
Of course, this movie is as loosely based on the real events as it possibly could be – but it’s certainly how we’d want to imagine events transpiring. There becomes an intense power struggle between several members of the Council of Ministers including Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi) – who would later go on to be the First Secretary of the Communist Party – Georgy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor), Lavrentiy Beria (Simon Russell Beale), Vyacheslav Molotov (Michael Palin), Lazar Kaganovich (Dermot Crowley), Anastas Mikoyan (Paul Whitehouse) and Nicolai Bulganin (Paul Chahidi).
Meanwhile, Marshal Georgy Zhukov (Jason Isaacs) is throwing a spanner in the works – not being the best of friends with Malenkov – and of course Joseph Stalin’s renegade son Vasily (Rupert Friend) needs to be kept a close eye on. But nothing compares the chaos that they face from the public when they find out that their ‘great’ leader is dead.
‘The Death of Stalin’ is a hilarious, expletive-ridden journey based on the French comic books of the same name by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin. Directed by the Academy Award nominated Armando Iannucci (‘I’m Alan Partridge’, ‘Veep’), who went on to be nominated for the Platform Prize at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival for this film, it has been co-written by Iannucci, David Schneider (‘Uncle Max’) and Ian Martin (‘The Thick of It’) with additional material by Peter Fellows (‘Prime Cut’). It is set to be released in UK theatres on October 20th 2017.