Reviews

Satirical comedy about the chaotic events and fight for power surrounding Stalin's death. Jason plays general Georgy Zhukov.

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servalan
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Re: Reviews

Post by servalan » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:12 pm

I saw The Death of Stalin today. Firstly, it's not on very wide release, in spite of lots of reviews in the British media - I had to go to an art house cinema to see it, but at least where I live that was possible.

The film is a very black comedy. Most of the humour is verbal, so you need to listen hard to catch everything, as the talk is fast and characters talk over each other. I'm sure I missed many funny remarks. There is some visual comedy too. The basic premise is, Stalin when alive was a dangerous control freak who killed everyone who challenged him or was perceived to challenge him. The people at the heart of the party are all so scared to be seen by the others to be disloyal that they dare not challenge him, and much of this continues after Stalin is dead, while at the same time they are jockeying for position, and everyone is ready to pin the blame on someone else if bad things happen. The cast is excellent. Michael Palin as Molotov loyally continues to believe his wife deserved to be arrested even after she has been released on Stalin's death, while at the same time being delighted to see her. The two main schemers are Simon Russell Beale as Beria and Steve Buscemi as Khrushchev (and if you know your history, you know who wins).

Jason does not appear until at least halfway through the film, but he steals the scene the minute you see him. He swaggers on screen, with his medal-coated chest thrust forward. He has been given some of the funniest lines, and he delivers them with great timing. The audience laughed out loud during some of Jason's scenes, so it shows we fangirls are not the only ones to appreciate his performance. He was obviously having great fun playing General Zhukev in a blunt Yorkshire accent with added physical violence. He thumped Rupert Friend (Stalin's son) with great relish.

There are so many characters in this film it's difficult to remember or work out who is who, and who outranks who. With Jason, it's obvious he is the general, and he does not defer to anyone. There are not many women in the film, but notable performances are Andrea Riseborough as Stalin's daughter Svetlana, and Olga Kurylenko as a concert pianist who hates Stalin.

There are many hints at the real violence that went on at that time. Although we don't see much more than slapstick, and many people being shot just off-camera, you can tell that it was a hellish time and place to live through - if you lived. The satire is very well written.

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Marie
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Re: Reviews

Post by Marie » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:41 pm

Wow servalan - that was a great synopsis. I really hope I get to see this. If it does not come to the theatre at least I hope I can get in DVD. Such a wonderful cast. And if I get in DVD I can turn the closed captioning on - and see all the verbal sparring.

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Helen8
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Re: Reviews

Post by Helen8 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:17 am

"Here comes the Gen-er-al!" Servalan, thank you for such an insightful review. I can't wait to see Jason in this.

Boy, I hope this isn't Art presaging Life: "dangerous control freak" " all so scared to be seen by the others to be disloyal that they dare not challenge him" " they are jockeying for position" "pin the blame on someone else if bad things happen"

Or that it comes to this: "who killed everyone who challenged him or was perceived to challenge him"

These are indeed dark times.

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Hilary the Touched
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Re: Reviews

Post by Hilary the Touched » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:25 pm

Thanks, Servalan--I too am really hoping to see this in our local "vintage theatre"--the bigger the Jason, the better! (or something--oh dear)
I'm with Marie though in appreciating closed captioning more and more--not too proud to admit that I rely on it often.

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servalan
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Re: Reviews

Post by servalan » Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:55 am

When I watch TV, I often have the subtitles on. This is due to a mixture of actors mumbling or talking over each other, and some accents I can't follow if they speak too fast. It's also due to the absolutely awful quality of sound that comes out of modern flat-screen TVs, which are a step backwards as far as I am concerned. We must buy a sound bar for it soon - but why should we have to when these new TVs are so expensive anyway?
{rant off}

The film was perfectly audible, but you do need to pay close attention.

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Helen8
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Re: Reviews

Post by Helen8 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:07 pm

Paul Whitehouse, Jason Isaacs and Rupert Friend are also very funny but aren't given the same depth of character development as some of the others ...

Considering he only enters the movie halfway through, it's not surprising.

http://www.theyorker.co.uk/arts-and-cul ... th-stalin/

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thunder
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Re: Reviews

Post by thunder » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:11 pm

Thank you, Servalan. :D Does Zhukov have decent screen time after he appears for the first time?

...and thank you, Helen. :D

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servalan
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Re: Reviews

Post by servalan » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:52 am

thunder wrote:
Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:11 pm
Thank you, Servalan. :D Does Zhukov have decent screen time after he appears for the first time?
Well, there is never enough Jason on screen is there? :lol

He gets a reasonable amount of screen time in the second half of the film, and is certainly a crucial player as the story approaches its end.

Paul Whitehouse does get some funny lines, but is not a major player as the reviewer says. Rupert Friend's part consists mainly of being self-important and being drunk.

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thunder
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Re: Reviews

Post by thunder » Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:09 pm

:lol No, we can never have enough of Jason-screen time.

I'm glad he's got some decent screen time in this, even if he comes in late. :mrgreen:

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Re: Reviews

Post by LadySekhmet » Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:14 pm

So I looked up my zip code and Death of Stalin on Fandango, because I am as impatient as Cookie Monster while waiting for cookies to come out of the oven to see this movie.

And while Himself may not be in the whole movie, what to my wondering eyes did appear? Two photos (the only two so far) of Jason and the trailer frozen on his face! Clearly Fandango is staff by unknown Jason fans. lol. So for at least today, the fandango page is JI centric! :hands https://www.fandango.com/the-death-of-s ... e-overview

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servalan
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Re: Reviews

Post by servalan » Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:29 pm

Jason is also the first thing you see on this movie poster, which was the one displayed in the cinema entrance where I saw the film:
https://media.boingboing.net/wp-content ... large.jpeg

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Marie
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Re: Reviews

Post by Marie » Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:14 am

The look Steve Buscimi is giving him is priceless!

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BrodieCaffee
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Re: Reviews

Post by BrodieCaffee » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:30 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KA3a-3I4VCc

The Death Of Stalin reviewed by Mark Kermode

Credit: kermode&mayo YouTube

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