Death on the Nile is a 2022 mystery film directed by Kenneth Branagh from a screenplay by Michael Green, based on the 1937 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. The novel had been previously adapted as a film in 1978 and is a sequel to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express, also starring Branagh as the Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot.
S P O I L E R S
The premise of this adaptation of Death on the Nile does not deviate too much from that of the novel viz. While on vacation on the Nile, Hercule Poirot must investigate the murder of a young heiress. (IMDB) Typically, Poirot reveals the findings of his investigation in the story’s climax, which usually involves a plot twist that is unexpected.
The mystery itself is not too difficult to solve if one is observant enough. Technically, every other person on board the ship Karnak – where the murders take place – has a motive to kill. However, in this adaptation, this sense of danger to the first victim – the heiress Linnet Ridgeway-Doyle (Gal Gadot) – is not felt strongly enough but only after her death and in the course of Poirot’s investigation. This is a serious flaw in the adaptation.
It is quite obvious that the jilted lover Jacqueline “Jackie” de Bellefort (Emma Mackay) is the only suspect, despite the alibis concocted in the story. The others are not given strong enough motives to want Linnet dead. Thus, there is little mystery and there is therefore no tension in the ensuing drama. So despite the best efforts at misdirection, the plot falls flat on its face.
Not only that but much of the casting is badly executed as well. Gal Gadot as an English heiress? She does not possess the acting chops to make that remotely believable. Russell Brand’s Linus Windlesham and Ali Fazal’s Andrew Katchadourian are lifeless and inconsequential and are never realistic alternative suspects. Even Branagh’s portrayal of Poirot is listless and not quite coming up to the level of Peter Ustinov, never mind Albert Finney!
Death on the Nile is decent enough if one is merely looking for two hours to kill but not much more than that.
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