Death on the Nile Review: Is a Triumph of Stylized Cinema
Death on the Nile
Starring Hercule Poirot, starring Tom Bateman (also returning from the first film), Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders and Letitia Wright
Directed by Kenneth Branagh
Rating: *** ½
Disclaimer: This review does not judge Armie Hammer
It’s amazing how personal some supposedly unbiased critics get when it comes to sexual transgressions. Armie Hammer has been accused of sinister activity on his phone and it’s one of the main reasons why the release of this exquisite Agatha Christie adaptation has been delayed for over a year.
Exquisite, it is by all means. The sumptuous ocean view of a Nile cruiser as it sailed through choppy murderous waters in 1937 is undoubtedly a feast for the eyes and a delight for those who enjoy their glamorous, inflated murder mysteries.
The highly distinguished British actor-director Kenneth Branagh is no stranger to Agatha Christie and her flamboyant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot whose inflated self-esteem can only be compared to his ability to solve the most impossible murder cases. with the sound of a whip, the rustle of a knife and the sound of a gunshot on a dark and freezing night when greedy adventurers are abroad.
Such is the steamy quivering scenario. Christie’s version of Branagh belies periodicity and plays up the timeless emotions of jealousy, possessiveness and acrimony with a delectable appetite for glamor and seduction.
Branagh, who did Christie earlier to great acclaim, chose to focus on beautiful faces (at one point the gorgeous Gal Gadot is dressed as Cleopatra), shiny surfaces and lingering light planes of captured Egyptian pyramids. like stirring poetry by cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos whose black-and-white cinematography in recent Belfast is a treat for sighs.
There’s black and white at the start of Death On The Nile when we get a rather tragicomic preface about how Hercule Poirot got that mythical mustache. But b&w is clearly not Death On The Nile’s favorite palate. The beautiful exteriors and murderous interiors of the characters’ brooding, sullen hearts required a focused color palette.
The atmosphere is passionate, the frames splashy but tasteful. I’m so happy to have seen this vivacious and classy thriller in a cinema. To see him at home is to miss the sheer physical beauty that the film celebrates. Populated with alluring suspects – Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Tom Bateman, Emma MacKay and our very own Ali Fazal (in a not-too-tiny role) – and armed with a slew of fancy teas and witty repartee, Death On The Nile is comfortably one of Agatha Christie’s finest adaptations on the big screen.
The gain may be predictable for those who have read the novel recently. I had long forgotten that. But I hadn’t forgotten how extravagant and theatrical Belgian detective Hercule Poirot can be. Kenneth Barnagh awakens our fondest memories of the conceited detective. As a leading man and director, Branagh scores very well. You might be able to guess “whodunit”. But you’ll never guess how Branagh brings so much seriousness to the lives of such wealthy and indolent people, some of whom deserve to be killed.