I was excited, and I very much enjoyed that version of the movie. Here we have him remaking another classic tale of the Belgian detective this time trying to sort out who killed a recently married heiress on a ship traveling down the Nile River in Egypt. That title makes sense now, doesn’t it?
The plot has a woman named Linnet meeting and falling madly in love with a man named Simon. They quickly get married and take an extended honeymoon/vacation with a group of their friends. The problem is that Simon was engaged to her best friend Jacqueline when he met Linnet. This leads to some drama as she keeps showing up wherever they go seemingly just to torture them and ruin their lives. This all leads to them being stuck on a small river boat, guests, happy couple, scorned woman, and of course Poirot! There is an altercation where Jacqueline shoots Simon in the leg leading to them both being looked after. The next morning Linnet is found shot thru the head. But our primary suspect, Jacqueline can’t be the killer.
This situation leads to a mystery as if she didn’t kill Linnet who did? Luckily for us we are given a ton of suspects including the man embezzling from her, another former fiancé who she spurned for Simon, an angry maid who lost her chance at love because of Linnet, and several others. Some of these are red herrings and others become victims. But in the end Poirot sorts out who the murder is and while not a happy ending it does have resolution.
, I really enjoyed Branagh’s take on both the character as well as the story. Not only does he portray Poirot, but he also directed the movie. I can assuredly say that the qualities we see on screen are due to his talent and obvious love of the character. He brings a depth to the detective by giving him a bit of a backstory with it opening when he was a young man in World War I. This allows him to explain why he is solitary and why he has that immense mustache. This was fun for me as a viewer because I already knew who the killer was. I’ve read the book and seen the previous movie starring Peter Ustinov. While they do change some of the characters around to make things flow better the core of the story and what makes it special remains unaltered. You can see Branagh’s history as a Shakespearian actor/director as many creatives have tweaked the bard’s work, but the best never goes too far from the source material.
The cast in addition to Branagh is excellent. Gal Gadot is fine as Linnet but honestly is blown off the screen by the likes of Annette Bening, and Emma Mackey. Then again, I’m not sure she is given much to do other then to be a sympathetic victim. I thought it was fun to see comedians Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous) and Dawn French (The Vicar of Dibley) in more serious roles. If you haven’t seen these shows you are really missing out. It was also nuts that it took half of the movie for me to notice that Russell Brand was the jilted ex-fiancé. He is very subdued and quite good in the supporting role. We also get Armie Hammer as the man in the middle of things, Simon. This really is a great cast.
If you have already seen a previous version or are familiar with the novel, then the mystery isn’t going to carry your interest here. Though it is well staged and fun to watch we already know who the killer is. What is surprising about Death on the Nile is I enjoyed the heck out of watching the actors and the small differences in this adaptation. Maybe I’m just a big nerd but this beautifully well shot movie is filled with performances that makes it worth checking out. I highly recommend it.
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