REVIEW: Kenneth Branagh returns as Poirot to solve gorgeous people’s murders in ‘Death on the Nile’
SALT LAKE CITY – It’s been quite a week for Kenneth Branagh. Just a few days after breaking an individual Oscar nomination record and seeing his movie Belfast nominated for seven Academy Awards of its own, the writer/actor/director has yet another big project debuting on the big screen.
Death on the Nile reunites the filmmaking team behind 2017’s hit Murder on the Orient Express, and Branagh stars once again as the iconic detective Hercule Poirot. This is the third time Agatha Christie’s novel from 1937 has been made into a movie.
The film finally arrives in theaters on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022 after its release date was rescheduled several times during the Covid pandemic.
Famed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot’s Egyptian vacation aboard a glamorous river steamer turns into a terrifying search for a killer when a picture-perfect, passionate couple’s idyllic honeymoon is tragically cut short.
Poirot must solve yet another case where everyone around him could be a suspect, and where money, power, jealousy and passion cloud the search as secrets are discovered and alibis are questioned while the group sails down one of the most famous rivers in the world.
THINGS I LIKED
Like Murder on the Orient Express, Branagh leads another strong and diverse cast in Death on the Nile, headlined by Gal Gadot, who shines as a wealthy heiress who fears for her safety on the trip. They’re joined by Armie Hammer, Annette Bening, Letitia Wright, Sophie Okonedo and a nearly-unrecognizable Russell Brand. I had never seen Emma Mackey in a role before this one, but really enjoyed her portrayal of a jilted and wounded woman. Tom Bateman reprises his role as Poirot’s friend Bouc from Orient Express.
The film looked gorgeous, with shots of sweeping Egyptian desert vistas and the Giza pyramids with impeccably-dressed passengers living large on the riverboat. Though some of the historic locations visited in the story were actually filmed in Morocco and others just recreated on sets, the production was high enough quality that it was difficult to tell which was which.
There were tiny bits of humor sprinkled in to help ease the tension of some scenes, which was appreciated. I actually enjoyed the story’s twists and turns and resolution more than I did in Orient Express. Bonus, Poirot’s giant mustache even gets its own movie backstory!
Death on the Nile is rated PG-13 for violence, some bloody images and sexual material (including some dancing so dirty that Jerry Orbach wouldn’t have just put Baby in a corner, he might have locked in her room until she was 25.) It has a run time of 2 hours and 5 minutes.
I really enjoyed Death on the Nile. It was worth the wait after all the delays on the release date. In my opinion, it was superior in nearly every way to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express and it looks great on the big screen. Branagh, who also directed and co-wrote the screenplay, seems even more comfortable in the role of Poirot this time around and his mustache isn’t quite as visually distracting, either.
I think fans of Agatha Christie stories, and mysteries in general, will also enjoy this even if they’ve already seen the 1978 movie version with Peter Ustinov.
I give the movie THREE out of FOUR stars.
WHERE TO WATCH
Hopefully you & your family found this review helpful! Andy Farnsworth does a weekly “What To Watch” segment for the KSL 5 Today morning news show and also hosts the Fan Effect podcast for KSL NewsRadio. Check out his other in-depth reviews of movies and streaming TV series on KSLTV.com.
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