Death on the Nile (Kenneth Branagh, 2022, UK/USA)

Death on the Nile is the latest entry from director Kenneth Branagh in his adaptations of Agatha Christie's classic works, following 2017's very successful adaptation of Murder on the Orient ExpressNile, which was first published in 1937, has received numerous adaptations over the years, perhaps most notably 1978's feature film adaptation starring Peter Ustinov. The story transplants the train setting of Orient Express to a wedding party on the Nile River. Branagh here is reprising his role as Christie's iconic detective Hercule Poirot. He seemed to have taken some of the criticism of the prior film to heart, this time focusing more on Poirot's eccentricities. The film also makes Poirot a more sensitive protagonist, as the film opens in a flashback of Poirot during WWI and our introduction to his love Katherine, who died in an explosion.

In contrast to his other recent effort BelfastNile finds Branagh returning to form with a workman-like ensemble piece. The film has a cozy, old-fashioned style, that is hampered only by the extensive use of CGI to replicate the Egyptian setting. The best sets in the film are the "ship" itself. The film is very top-heavy, more so than the prior film, and it feels as though we are not introduced to the murder until the midpoint of the film. From there the film picks up, and while it might be obvious in retrospect to know who committed the murder, the film keeps things tense in true Agatha Christie fashion. The film remains faithful to the main plot points of the book, while at the same time modifying or changing characters. The ensemble cast does a good job, with Russell Brand standing out as Linus Windlesham, a doctor and former lover of the murder victim who stands out as a suspect. The film is good fun overall.



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