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  • Writer's pictureKara Chatham

Death on the Nile | film


Based on the Novel by Agatha Christie

Writer: Michael Green

Director: Kenneth Brannah

Director of Photography: Haris Zambarloukos

Starring: Kenneth Brannah, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Letitia Wright, Sophie Okonedo, Tom Bateman, Annett Bening, Rose Leslie, and Russell Brand

Released: February 11, 2022

It is a decent story experience, but it is not a strong adaptation of the source material.

Recommendation: If you enjoy the novel, proceed with caution.

This is the second of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poroit stories with Kenneth Brannah as our methodical detective.

SPOILER WARNING: This review does contain spoilers. If you wish to remain spoiler free, then do not read past this point.

The casting is fun. Gal Gadot is likable as Linet Ridgeway - our wealthy leading lady turned murder victim. I think Armie Hammer is a touch too American for the role of Simon Doyle - a man who is described as painfully English in how he carries himself. Emma Mackey is spot on with the "is she crazy" former lover role of Jacqueline de Bellefort.

Michael Green does modernize a few small storylines, but it doesn't really change the trajectory of the story. My main struggle with his adaptation is how he is trying to change our detective. Hercule Poroit is not one who gets easily flustered by "pretty women" or overly emotional in the face of solving a case. He is steady and methodical and particular. He does not need a love story. The first five minutes of this film try to set something up as a "what once was" and then at the end there is this attempt at "what could be" in the romance department and... I am not here for it. It's not Poroit.

Another thing about the first five minutes, it takes way too long to get to see Poroit to know that it is supposed to be a part of the story. Because the top of the novel is setting up where everyone is before we cross paths with them with Poroit on the boat where the murders take place. So what does a storyline about Poroit serving the war have to do with anything? Nothing. If you are hoping that it will make sense, it won't. Even at the end when we somewhat circle back around to the whole mustache-deformity-love-story-line thing, it still does not make sense. Certainly not enough for you to see it at the beginning and have to wait two hours just to see no closure or even a smidge of closure at the end. It's a stupid hint at "maybe". It's not worth the build up. And there wasn't even that much becuase it has nothing to do with the actual story that Death on the Nile is actually telling.

Which is meant to be the story of Linet Ridgeway and why she feels incredibly unsafe at her own wedding.

There are two scenes with Simon Doyle that I think were on the screen a bit too long. Both emphazised the sexual nature - which is not even a thing in the source material - of the relationships Doyle has with both women he is supposedly in love with. The first one helps establish the "madly, deeply" nature of the romance that exists between Doyle and Jacqueline de Boufort while the second really does nothing for Doyle's relationship with Linet Ridgeway. Both, however, hit that uncomfortable level on screen.

Objectively, it's not a bad film. But it is not a good adaptation of Agatha Christie's novel.

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