Double Bill: The Party (15) + The Death of Stalin (15)
Ticket price £7.00
The Party (15) – 6.30pm
2017 ( UK ) ( Comedy, Drama )
DIRECTOR: Sally Potter
STARRING: Timothy Spall, Kristin Scott Thomas, Patricia Clarkson
This is a superior cinematic canapé from British writer/director Sally Potter. Shot in cool black-and-white, it sees a newly appointed shadow health minister (Kristin Scott Thomas) throw a celebration party for her nearest and dearest, only to uncork a whirlpool of secrets, lies, sex, drugs and singed vol au vents. The characters are given a tremendous amount of life in a series of excellent performances. Patricia Clarkson displays perfect comic timing as the sardonic April, and Janet’s apparently ever loyal husband Billy (Timothy Spall) sits there, drinking and looking catatonically stricken. Something is clearly very wrong.
‘The Party’ uses its single setting to claustrophobic, dramatic advantage. The dialogue is bitterly funny, even while dealing with the darkest of subject matters, touching on politics, family, fidelity and sexuality while maintaining a breezy comic tone. And amid the middle-class intellectual squabbling there’s a palpable sense of tension and danger.
To sum up, ‘The Party’ is a biting comedy with outstanding performances from the whole cast.
The Death of Stalin (15) – 8.15pm
2017 ( France | UK | Belgium ) ( Comedy, History )
DIRECTOR: Armando Iannucci
STARRING:Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Jeffrey Tambor
‘The Death of Stalin’ is an outrageous and brilliant historical satirical farce.
Written and directed by the wickedly talented Armando Iannucci, it’s a fiercely sharp attack on the self-serving scheming and idiocy of the ruling classes. We meet Stalin on bullying form in 1953 in a Moscow that’s alive with paranoia and purges. But before long, the much-feared dictator is lying comatose on the floor after a stroke sparked by a brave citizen’s angry letter of protest. As Stalin wanes, hastened by the fact he’s sent all the competent doctors to the gulag, potential successors leap into the vacuum. What follows is a riotous farce of doublespeak and plotting laced with moments of bitumen-black horror. Iannucci’s control of tone is such that we’re carried from hilarity to revulsion and back again in a few keenly crafted lines of dialogue. It’s much darker terrain than his comic dissections of US and British politics, ‘The Thick of It’ and ‘Veep’, uncomfortably so at times. The result is an original, troubling, deadly serious comedy.