A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe's nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening.
In May 1940, the fate of Western Europe hangs on British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Adolf Hitler, or fight on knowing that it could mean a humiliating defeat for Britain and its empire.
Kristin Scott Thomas
In early-1953 Moscow, under the Great Terror's heavy cloak of state paranoia, the ever-watchful Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, collapses unexpectedly of a brain hemorrhage. Inevitably, when his body is discovered the following morning, a frenetic surge of raw panic spreads like a virus among the senior members of the Council of Ministers as they scramble to maintain order, weed out the competition, and, ultimately, take power. But in the middle of a gut-wrenching roller-coaster of incessant plotting, tireless machinations, and frail allegiances, absolutely no one is safe; not even the feared chief of the secret police, Lavrenti Beria. In the end, who will prevail after the death of Stalin?Written by
The film alludes to the 1950 plane crash in Sverdlovsk that killed most of the Soviet ice hockey team, which happened three years before Stalin's death. It is true that Vasili Stalin, the team's patron, feared his father's reaction and tried to recruit a new team at extremely short notice. See more »
Svetlana asks Beria to release Aleksei Kapler, her first love who is imprisoned in the gulag. Beria tells her that Kapler is dead. However, Kapler was released in 1953, soon after Stalin's death, and lived to 1979. There doesn't seem to be any reason for Beria to lie, since he is supposed to be ingratiating himself to Svetlana, and as the head of the NKVD he certainly would have known that Kapler was still alive. See more »
Black-and-white photographs of the main characters appear over the end credits, but various figures are airbrushed out, have their faces defaced, or have other people superimposed over them, as per Soviet photos of Trotsky and purge victims. See more »
This is an excellent film. And its treatment of the Stalin Era of the Soviet Union is both darkly humorous and actually very unflinching in its depicting the monsters and their monstrosities for what they were.
I was worried that, in an attempt to extract humor from the situation that they might've glossed over just how monstrous the key characters actually were. To Iannucci and Schneider's credit however, there was absolutely no glossing over at all. Beria, for instance, is portrayed as every bit the monster in human form that he was - this, even as that portrayal is also made darkly and delightfully humorous at times.
The whole cast played their parts well and played them "straight" - which only heightened the humor and the horror of what life was like under Stalin in the Soviet Union. Even the nominal "hero" of the tale, Nakita Khrushchev, is realistically portrayed as being just as conniving and callous and power hungry as everyone else. Buscemi would seem an odd choice for that particular role but he pulls it off with style and excellence. So too does Simon Russell Beale in his portrayal of Beria.
This is a nicely done film with excellent production values, a great script, fine acting, excellent pacing, and a compelling tale that is well told.
I highly recommend it!
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