Critic Reviews



Based on 18 critic reviews provided by
The scenes with Stalin and his frightened underlings, his giddy yes-men tip-toeing around him, are written and directed by Duncan with a grace, agility and comic deftness one rarely is treated to at the movies these days.
Christian Science Monitor
Writer/director Peter Duncan's first film is darkly humorous, with dashes of slapstick, brilliant, and original material.
Entertainment Weekly
Children bumps into a few dead spots along its irreverent way... But casual sophistication and wiggy Australian self-awareness give this product of unreconstructed bourgeois decadence its idiosyncratic charm.
Duncan zips through five decades and dozens of characters without reducing the participants to cliches or slogans. A remarkable cast helps him to keep focused on the core of the piece.
That Duncan can't come up with a satisfying ending and lets the story drift into a confusing polemic is hardly surprising. He's guilty of overreaching -- interrupting his very sly satire with quasi-serious thoughts on the end of Soviet communism.
Though writer-director Peter Duncan can hardly help but touch on volatile political issues, he seems oddly without a political point of view.
Not only is it based on a fairly original premise, but the humor exhibits a distinct edge.
This debut feature from Australian director Duncan is still a wonderful sociopolitical experiment, dripping with sarcasm and bizarre, oddball humor, which make it all the more potent.
USA Today
Uneven but also unflaggingly lively, the movie presents F. Murray Abraham as a corseted and bewigged Stalin in expository bits whose broadness recalls the Billy Wilder-scripted Soviet satires ("Ninotchka" and "One, Two, Three") without being as funny. [16 May 1997, Pg.02.D]
It is enormously ambitious -- maybe too much so, since it ranges so widely between styles and strategies that it distracts from its own flow.

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