Friday, July 6, 2018

Review: 'The Death of Stalin'.

Last week me and my friend managed to watch a film  that I thought would be worth watching. We managed to watch 'The Death of Stalin', a historical drama/comedy, that had gotten good reviews from the critics (96% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes).

After all, when a historical movie gets positive reviews, it's not a difficult decision to give the film a chance. There's a pretty good likelihood that you'll enjoy watching it and that you'll learn something new about history and how the world works.

So having now seen 'The Death of Stalin', it has to be said that I have somewhat mixed feelings about it. Even though I don't think that the movie was bad per se, there were some problems with it that shouldn't be overlooked.

When it comes to the flaws in the film, the biggest problem with the movie is that it's simply too long. The film doesn't manage to keep your attention from start to finish, and goes on for at least thirty minutes longer than it should.

By that I mean is that when we get past Stalin dying - the most interesting part of the movie, the film stops being funny. Instead of the film bringing out laughs and entertaining you, it starts to drag and takes itself too seriously.

The most obvious example of the movie getting too serious and running out of ideas is that when we get to the second hour of the film, it becomes too vulgar. There so much foul language in the movie that it becomes distracting to watch it.

This is especially true when we get to Stalin's funeral and the inevitable power struggle that ensues. In these scenes the characters become completely obsessed with spouting lines that are as obscene and as crass as possible - which does not work at all.

This use of foul language as a crutch wasn't actually that surprising, because the writer and the director of the movie - Armando Iannucci - has been known for using these cheap tricks. His show on HBO, 'Veep' is all about cursing and being obscene.

After all, on 'Veep', the lack of substance, interesting characters and plausible storylines on the show are replaced with vulgarity. The show uses foul language and four letter words to distract you and to make you forget that the series isn't about anything meaningful.

In that sense, when it comes to 'The Death of Stalin', it's unfortunate that the movie resorts to these kinds of cheap tactics. It's unfortunate that it does these things and doesn't pay enough attention to its story and its characters.

After all, when you consider that the premise of the film is pretty interesting, one would have thought that the producers of the movie would have taken their story more 'seriously'. They should have made sure that the script worked from start to finish.

In the end, even though 'The Death of Stalin' obviously isn't a bad movie, it was still pretty disappointing as a whole. It's clear that the film was lacking storywise and that it didn't always know what it was supposed to be about.

After all, considering that the film switched from comedy to drama in its second half, it was hard to care about what was going on after that point. This change in the movie's tone and the excessive amount of cursing in its second half didn't work at all.

In that sense, even though I recommend the film as a history lesson, I don't recommend it as a 'movie'. I don't recommend it as a movie, because even though the film has its moments, there are too many problems with its length, tone, characters and its overall story.

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