The Death of Stalin appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The picture never excelled, but it was acceptable for SD-DVD.
Sharpness was usually fine. Wider shots tended to be a bit soft, but those instances weren’t extreme, and much of the flick offered decent to good clarity.
Shimmering and jaggies were minor and edge haloes seemed non-problematic. Print flaws were non-existent, as I detected no specks, marks or other blemishes.
The film’s palette opted for a clear amber tint, with some teal as well. Within that design range, the colors seemed passable if bland.
Blacks tended to be somewhat inky, but shadows showed reasonable smoothness. Nothing here did much to impress, but this was a watchable presentation.
Don’t expect fireworks from the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, as we got a mix heavy on dialogue. Outside of a few scenes that featured violent elements, speech dominated.
Effects remained minimal and didn’t add much to the production. Music worked better and used the speakers well.
Audio quality was positive. Speech seemed natural and concise, and the score demonstrated pretty good clarity.
Effects did little to tax my system but they were clear and accurate enough. Overall, this ended up as a passable mix.
In terms of extras, we get a featurette called Dictators, Murderers and Comrades… Oh My! that runs 11 minutes, five seconds. It includes comments from writer David Schneider, writer/director Armando Iannucci, and actors Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Paul Chahidi, Paul Whitehouse, Dermot Crowley, Michael Palin, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough and Jason Isaacs.
“Comrades” looks at story and characters, cast and performances, the film’s tone and Iannucci’s impact. We get a few decent tidbits but not a lot of substance emerges here.
36 Deleted Scenes fill 11 minutes, four seconds. As one can infer from the fact the average running time clocks in under 18 seconds, these tend toward brief snippets.
A couple of longer segments emerge, but almost all of them simply provide added lines of humorous dialogue. Though they’re entertaining to see, few would add much to the film.
Dark and incisive, The Death of Stalin provides a biting political satire. Though set 65 years ago, it maintains a sharp connection to modern events and becomes a vivid black comedy. The DVD offers mediocre picture and audio with minor supplements. While this turns into a lackluster release, the movie comes with a kick.