Crooked House (2017)

Crooked House
Director: Gilles Paquet-Brenner
Writer: Julian Fellowes, Tim Rose Price, Gilles Paquet-Brenner
Based on: Agatha Christie‘s novel
Cast: Max Irons, Stefanie Martini, Glenn Close, Honor Kneafsey, Christina Hendricks, Terence Stamp, Julian Sands, Gillian Anderson, Christian McKay, Amanda Abbington, Preston Nyman
Seen on: 17.12.2018

Charles Hayward (Max Irons) used to be a diplomat/spy in Egypt, but now he is back in London and takes up a business as a private detective. When the rich Aristide Leonides is poisoned in his home, his granddaughter Sophia (Stefanie Martini) calls on Hayward, who was her lover some time ago, to solve the case. Hayward arrives at the Leonides estate to face a complicated family filled with suspects and suspicions.

Crooked House was bad. Holy shit, it was such an exhausting film. I hated it so much, I was very happy that I coincidentally had alcohol-filled chocolates with me so I could dull the pain a little.

The film poster showing the main characters in front of a dark manor.

I’m not the world’s biggest Agatha Christie fan to begin with (I’m generally not that much into crime stories), but I have read a couple of her books and I have watched a few adaptations, so I know that usually, towards the end, events become very dramatic very fast. So that was to be expected. Still, the nonsense twists here really are on another level.

And they are made worse by the horribly artificial dialogues that seemed written specifically to get on my nerves in an absolutely personal way. I don’t often feel personally attacked by the badness of a film, but it was definitely the case here. What I will say for the dialogue is that it did help me to decide whether I hated the directing in the film more or the cinematography, tipping the scales slightly in favor of the directing – I did hate it more than the cinematography in the end, but it was a close call.

Josephine Leonidas (Honor Kneafsey) dancing ballet.

I just don’t understand how you get lucky enough to make a film with Gillian Anderson, Glenn Close and Christina Hendricks (to name but a few) and then you absolutely don’t let them act in any way. Maybe they all had to dial it down to adapt to Max Irons’ level – because he was definitely stretching his abilities here.

Whatever the reason, I was unable to find anything good in the film that really made the time I spent on it worth it. I probably should have just left instead of stufifng my face with alcohol-filled chocolates to struggle through it.

Charles Hayward (Max Irons), Lady Edith de Haviland (Glenn Close) and Sophia de Haviland (Stefanie Martini) in the manor's entrance hall.

Summarizing: Hell no.

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