It is a fact universally acknowledged that satire is best left to the adults, which is why the Britsh have always been the best at.
And of the finest satirist working at the moment is Armando Ianovhi creator of legendary shows like The Thick Of It and Veep. However, possibly feeling that satire set in the year 2017 is irrelevant following the election of Donald Trump and whatever the hell the Conservative Party conference was about Armando has turned his attention to 1953 and the death of Stalin, which leads to a power vacuum in the USSR and the frantic battle to replace him. But remember, in the great game you win or you die…
Now I’ve been looking forward to a really good film set in the USSR forever? Which is why I felt so let down by Child 44, a rather disappointing murder mystery, which exists seemingly to prove that even Tom Hardy (for once not covering his face) can make a dud. And, to be honest, a dark satire is really the only way to tackle what was going on in a land where even something as small as a joke could wind up with you recieving a knock on the door at 3am, before being stuffed into the back of a truck never to be seen again.
And this film doesn’t why away from that in the slightest. Pretty much every minnow we meet is either living in absolute terror of being shot for the slightest real or imagined slight or mistake, about to be shot for an imagined slight or mistake, or about to shoot someone for their own survival.
Hell, even the big fish know that the slightest wrong move could lead to their own knock on the door for a short trip to an unmarked grave.
And yet it is very, very, funny in all of it’s gleeful, glorious darkness. I laughed a lot at this film. More than at every other ‘comedy’ Hollywood has churned out this year.
And I’m not alone, In September 2017, a high-ranking Russian official with the culture ministry said the Russian authorities were considering a ban on the upcoming film, which, he alleged, could be part of a “western plot to destabilise Russia by causing rifts in society.” Other Russian Critics have lauded the film, claiming that the film is an “unfriendly act by the British intellectual class” and that it was very clear that the film was part of an “anti-Russian information war”. Because in the West, governments are regularly brought down by satire.
Hell, the pro-Kremlin newspaper Vzglyad recommended the film should not be screened in Russia, calling it “a nasty sendup by outsiders who know nothing of our history”. Pavel Pozhigailo, an adviser to Russia’s culture ministry, said the film was a “planned provocation” aimed at angering Communists in Russia and had the potential to “incite hatred”.
And here was me thinking the only entertainer that could collapse governments was David Hasselhoff.
Back to the disgusting piece of capitalist propaganda and we find an insanely talented cast including Steve Buscemi, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Palin, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine, Andrea Riseborough, Adrian McLoughlin, Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs, and Paul Whitehouse in the cast. Not one of whom even attempts a Russian accent, which I think is for the best. No-one needs to see a Python attempting a comedy accent, as the material is more than strong enough to stand on its own. Even if it is based off a French comic book.
The laughs come thick and fast, from the entire cast, with no weak links in the chain. And yet, despite all the.laughter, we can see the casual way that people are disposed of, almost as an afterthought if they are even deemed worthy of that. We see strong men manipulate the weak, smile at them and then stab them in the back.
The cast is fantastic, the plot solid and pretty much every like lands. I liked the way every character was introduced, even if none of them ever really develop and real backstory. I didn’t even want ten minutes shortened off the runtime for once. Perhaps a few less cahrechters would have been nice but if they were there in real life there’s nothing you can do.
I guess what I’m saying is….
My Score – See It Now
Now, if you’ll excuse me, a perfectly ordinary van has pulled up with a loudspeaker saying it has free pizza and wine for all film critics. There’s even a perfectly ordinary pizza man getting out to knock on my door.
See you next time.