Death on the Nile (2022)

Death on the Nile
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writer: Michael Green
Based on: Agatha Christie‘s novel
Sequel to: Murder on the Orient Express
Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Tom Bateman, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Emma Mackey, Letitia Wright, Sophie Okonedo, Annette Bening, Rose Leslie, Ali Fazal, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Russell Brand
Seen on: 14.2.2022

Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) is in Egypt on holiday when he runs into his old friend Bouc (Tom Bateman) who is traveling with his mohter (Annette Bening). They are in the country for the wedding of Simon (Armie Hammer) and Linette (Gal Gadot) who have invited their wedding party to Egypt. But not only their guests have come to the Nile, but also Jacqueline (Emma Mackey) who used to be Simon’s fiancée until she introduced him to Linette. When Linette is killed shortly afterwards, Poirot has to untangle the net of personal relationships that surround them all to find the murderer.

Death on the Nile really isn’t good, despite a fantastic cast. But with a bad script, a weird look and some very questionable choices by Branagh in his role as director of the film, not even a good cast can save this film.

The film poster showing the large cast of characters on a staemer on the Nile, behind them the pyramids and the sphynx.

Branagh’s first Poirot outing, Murder on the Orient Express, already wasn’t particularly great, so I didn’t expect all that much from Death on the Nile. Unfortunately, I was proven right, but I was also surprised by how many things go wrong here. I’m not sure where to start. The origin story of Poirot’s moustache (that doesn’t even make sense because hair doesn’t grow on scars, no?) or how the movie keeps explaining everything like 100 times, although things were simple (and obvious!) enough the first time we saw them?

Or maybe I should go straight to the bubblegum fakeness of the cinematography. The fillm looks like it’s entirely made of plastic, as if it was made by people who had never seen the real world before, only a movie studio. And that’s not a stylistic choice I could go along with. It really bothered me – down to the oh-so-symbolic crocodile.

Linnet (Gal Gadot) and Simon (Armie Hammer) staring at each other while Jacqueline (Emma Mackey) smiles at Simon.

Although the first thing that really, really bothered me was the dancing that was so completely inappropriate, it basically catapulted me out of the film. I mean, I’m pretty sure that I’m no prude, but the way Simon grinds against Jacqueline and Linette didn’t fit with the time the film is set in, nor was it particularly sexy (and only part of that has to do with the allegations against Armie Hammer). It was simply uncomfortable.

Against all of this, the cast almost doesn’t stand a chance, although I would be hard-pressed to name a favorite among them as they were all so good (except Hammer and Gadot who just have no chemistry whatsoever). Well, a favorite apart from Emma Mackey, who arrives at the least known of them all (Sex Education is really good, you should watch it) and just saunters off with the film as if it was nothing. She almost redeems the entire film. Almost.

But there’s only so much a cast can do in a film that just feels cobbled together from parts where people had a whole lot of fun, and parts that nobody cared about at all. Unfortunately the latter outweighed the former.

Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) sporting an elaborate moustache, looking very serious indeed.

Summarizing: meh, very meh.

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