Moscow, 1953. After being in power for nearly thirty years, Soviet dictator Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin) takes ill and quickly dies. Now the members of the Council of Ministers scramble for power.
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 haemorrhage. As a result, when someone discovers his body the following morning, a frenetic surge of raw panic starts spreading like a virus amongst 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
At the beginning of this movie, Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi) recounts a story to Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov (Sir Michael Palin) and Georgy Maximilianovich Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor). Malenkov, unable to follow, asks Khrushchev to clarify part of the story. Malenkov is instead criticized by Molotov for interrupting a story on account of his inability to understand the story. Earlier in his career, Steve Buscemi played a similarly oblivious character in The Big Lebowski (1998), another comedy, where Buscemi is repeatedly berated by a friend for stalling discussions on account of his inability to follow through. See more »
Khrushchev's wife Ninais mentioned in the end credits as "Nina Khrushchev". However in Russia female names with "ev" at the end are named "eva" so it should have been said "Nina Khrushcheva". See more »
Who was it?
The Secretariat of the General Secretariat. Of the General Secretary. The Secretary of the General...
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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 »
There's no avoiding truths rapidly passed over in this depiction of chaos following the death of an evil dictator. Stalin had charm...to those who were not his subjects and were never a threat to his authority. He fooled many so-called intellectuals in the West but everyone around him knew the truth, and, most managed to tip-toe over eggshells in order to stay alive. To thrive in such an environment requires a certain kind of callous ruthlessness...perfectly depicted with suitable crass humour here. The cast is perfectly chosen...each very accomplished actor adding their particular star dust. There's more than a single sittings' content in this film which deserves another viewing. Impressive and engaging story-telling based on real life events. Bravo all.
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