The latest film from 20th Century Studios, Death on the Nile, released this past weekend. It is an exciting murder mystery film and serves as a sequel to the 2017 film Murder on the Orient Express.
Originally meant to release sometime in 2021, it was delayed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Kenneth Branagh directs the film and also serves as the film’s lead role in French detective Hercule Poirot. The film is based on the 1937 novel of the same name by author Agatha Christie.
In traditional Kenneth Branagh fashion the film is very visually stunning, and despite a few inaccuracies here and there with clothing/fashion, you really do fee like you’ve been sucked back in time to 1937. A number of high profile actors like Gal Gadot, Russell Brand and Letitia Write also appear in the film.
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING SECTION CONTAINS POTENTIAL SPOILERS. CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION.
The film begins in the trenches of World War 1 where we see a young Hercule Poirot serving in the franchise’s army but suffers a facial injury from shrapnel. It should be noted that the CGI to make Branagh appear about 20 years younger is extremely well done.
We then flash forward to 1937 and see an engaged couple Simon Doyle (Armie Hammer) and Jackie Bellfort (Emma Mackey) dancing in London. But when a rich heiress, Linett Ridgeway (Gal Gadot), meets with Jackie and is introduced to Simon things get complicated. We then fast forward a few weeks to Egypt where Simon and Linett are now married and are celebrating with friends and family, but Jackie has been stalking them and appears uninvited at the party. Hercule Poirot is attending the party because his friend Bouc (Tom Bateman) invited him as he is an acquaintance of Linett.
Later when a number of friends and family board a boat on a multi-day trip down the Nile river Jackie follows them on board and tension begins to rise as a rock nearly fell and killed Linett and Simon. During a confrontation between Simon and Jackie she shoots him in the leg with a gun. Simon receives medical attention while Jackie is kept under suicide watch. The next morning Linett is found dead in her room. It is up to detective Poirot to find out who killed the heiress and the reason behind it.
The film does take its time in the beginning to set everything up. The film is roughly 2 hours long but the murder mystery part of the story doesn’t begin until roughly 1/3 into it. Some may find it slow or unnecessary but it is giving the audience the full set up and showing why each suspect may want to kill the heiress. But when the murder finally happens the tension and pace of the film picks up. And again Kenneth Branagh does an amazing job with the visuals of the film.
I myself have not read the original book but the film does serve as a good follow-up to Murder on the Orient Express. Fans of that film will definitely enjoy this one as well. I recommend it to anyone looking for a good brain tingler as you try to figure out who did it before they reveal the true killer.
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