This was a truly strange but very innovative and unusual movie.
It was marketed as a comedy, and succeeded at generating a good number of laughs. It is a strange feeling to find yourself laughing at mass murder and the sheer terror of the Stalin and post-Stalin eras in Russia. It was not really a very funny time in Russia. This movie was set after Stalin died and Stalin’s close associates jockeying for power and even survival. Most of Stalin’s underlings are not particularly lovable characters, especially my favorite in the movie, Beria. We know the final outcome, but the maneuvering among an assortment of characters demonstrating varying levels of villainy, cowardice, and incompetency is actually a lot of fun to watch.
I enjoyed the movie, but was left with a very disconcerting feeling about laughing at murder, terror, imprisonment, and even child rape. There were times when I felt very ashamed to have laughed at this at all.
My hat goes off to those who produced this extremely innovative and thought-provoking movie. The sick feeling I had as I walked back to retrieve my car was due to the fact that the events depicted in this movie were probably all too real, and this darned movie actually made me laugh at them.