Friday, February 11, 2022

Death on the Nile

Writer/director/star Kenneth Branagh returns to reprise his role as Hercule Poirot in this follow-up to 2017's adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express. The adaptation of Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile isn't as successful, in part due to source material not being as strong this time around and in part for some questionable creative decisions.

It takes far too long to get to the setting for our murder mystery, let alone the murder itself. By the time the body has dropped more than half the film seems to have already passed. In a somewhat defiant attempt to justify the character's look in the previous film, Branagh opens with a flashback explaining the reasoning behind Poirot's ridiculous mustache. After jumping forward, we are given multiple scenes setting up various characters, both in London and in Egypt, before finally get them all together on a ship sailing down the Nile River.

The drama that unfolds concerns a newlywed couple (Armie Hammer and Gal Gadot), his jealous former fiancé (Emma Mackey) stalking the pair, and a host of other characters on the ship whom the bride doesn't completely trust. Tom Bateman returns as Poirot's old friend working as sort of a tour guide for the honeymooners and their guests who include Annette Bening, Letitia Wright, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Rose Leslie, Sophie Okonedo, and Jennifer Saunders.

Poirot does his best to prevent a crime, while working on a separate case for one of the guests as well, but when murder occurs he steps up to find a killer. As with the previous film, Death on the Nile is a stylish affair. The film and its stars look terrific, making the most of the fashion of the period and its exotic locale in some key scenes. Sadly, the mystery here isn't as engaging. This is in part because of the film's plodding pace that seems to take hours before there is a crime for our detective to start investigating.

Death on the Nile isn't a bad film, but it's certainly flawed. While I can't quite bring myself to recommend it, there is enough here to keep your interest if you are a fan of Agatha Christie and her characters or just in the mood for a stylish mystery even if the movie drags far more in places than it should. Honestly, I was quite surprised to find only two-hours had passed when I walked out of the theater as the movie felt much longer. While Murder on the Orient Express was hardly a great film, it had a bit more charm and movie magic than Death on the Nile can muster.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: Death on the Nile (2022)
  • IMDb: link

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