Death on the Nile is a mystery film directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also stars as the Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. Michael Green is the scriptwriter who adapted the novel written by Agatha Christie. All kind of notable actors are gathered here. Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Emma Mackey, Russell Brand, Dawn French, Sophie Okonedo, and Letitia Wright are included in the sizable cast.
The film starts off with a rather unnecessary prologue with Poirot serving in the Belgian army during the First World War that supposedly explains the inspiration for his distinctive mustache. Many years later, Poirot is witness to an announcement of engagement at a jazz club in London. Six weeks later, the man is married to the previous fiancée’s friend who is a heiress. The first bride-to-be has been following the happy couple and appears to be gearing herself up r some kind of drastic action. Poirot joins the celebration aboard a ship sailing along the River Nile. Then the guns start firing, and the corpses start appearing. Poirot’s vacation comes to an end, and his investigative instincts are reignited.
The performances are fine, and the whole thing is shot beautifully. The sets are great, and the costume designer have the works deserves a standing ovation. Unfortunately, the alterations in the script are not necessary. Of course, there are changes in the ethnicity in some of the characters, which isn’t too surprising these days. Fortunately, the talent and charisma of both Okonedo and Wright does help make that decision less obnoxious That piece doesn’t quite annoy me as much as this business of Poirot’s past trauma and this silliness surrounding the reason for his ludicrous facial hair.
I was pleased that the basic plot was still recognizable. I had watched another version of this story which starred David Suchet, who is still my favorite Poirot actor. It has been a while since I read the novel though. I may have to revisit that one soon.
Much of the film is still enjoyable, but it is not without some fairly significant flaws and questionable creative decisions. I basically had one of my usual mixed reactions. In the end, I was pleased to have the works of Dame Agatha Christie presented to some new audiences. It falls short of any real cinematic greatness, but it does manage to avoid being a disaster.