Saturday 11 February 2023

Movie Review: Death On The Nile (2022)

Genre: Crime Mystery
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Annette Bening, Russell Brand
Running Time: 127 minutes

Synopsis: In 1937, legendary detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) is invited to the Nile river honeymoon cruise of Simon Doyle (Armie Hammer) and his new bride, the wealthy Linnet Ridgeway (Gal Gadot). The newlyweds believe their lives are in danger. The large group of suspects includes Simon's vindictive ex-lover Jacqueline (Emma Mackey), as well as Linnet's business manager (Ali Fazal), heartbroken former lover (Russell Brand), and personal maid (Rose Leslie). 

What Works Well: A relaxed old-fashioned attitude permeates through this Agatha Christie adaptation, and the scenic settings are postcard perfect despite CGI fakery. Gal Gadot and Emma Mackey engage in a duel of fetching gowns, while director Kenneth Branagh and cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos complement the vacation vibe with long, fluid takes. Poirot is humanized with a backstory starting in the Great War trenches and encompassing a great love, and is even afforded the flicker of a new romance.

What Does Not Work As Well: Too many dead bodies pile up on the boat before Poirot uncovers the plot, and the sailing is cluttered with many plastic passengers along for the ride with little likelihood of meaningful contributions (Annette Bening, Tom Bateman, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Sophie Okonedo, and Letitia Wright all meander onto the deck). Once finally revealed, the conspiracy is torpedoed by execution holes. While character diversity is forcibly wedged-in, local Egyptian culture is notably absent, and the 127 minutes of running time undermine crisp storytelling.

Conclusion: Despite pretty visuals, the boat lists under the weight of too many forgettable characters and far-fetched events.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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