Kenneth Branagh’s take on Agatha Christie Presents a Murder Mystery Adaptation that Demands Theatrical Viewing Honoring Herculean Legacy of Author on Maiden Voyage Journey

by Hassan Ilahi

Murder mystery monarchies are seldom investigated by 12-Angry-Men juries with Hercule responsibilities punishing racist felonies. If C-Hannibal-istic psychopathic killers interrogated Agatha Christie’s literatures’ weaknesses, her condemnations of peoples-of-color as silenced sacrificial lambs Foster fearful feminist police-officers. For considerations, Kenneth Branagh’s Ratchett Murder on the Orient Express top-Marple-ed Christie’s crowns upside-down portraying foreigners as clowns committing criminalities on Orient-Expresses investigated by detective with moustache-twirling frown. As prized as Indiana Jones, Christie’s frequently avoided Temple-of-Dooms lash punishment for Raiders-of-Lost-Ark reputation. Scouted Niles separated from rather than within segregational period’s Finch-es, Christie infrequently dis-Atticus-sed racism with patriarchal lawyer. However, Christie’s inability distinguishing facts-from-fancy amidst 12-Angry-Men attorneys emerged celebrity’s deficiency. Emulating Steward-t detectives experiencing Vertigos concerning Dial-M-for-Murder To-Catch-a-Thief eavesdropped throughout Rear-Window, Hitchcock-sure directors face Shadows-of-Doubt dipping toes into Psycho shower. Greatest trick devil author ever pulled convincing her books doesn’t need Usual-Suspects inspections as swiftly as Spacey con-artists deception. Still, banned novels prove swindler believing “one-life-saves-world-entire” rescue author de-Amon-ic deniers.

Sherlockian suspense mysteries accomplish showcasing minorities aboard voyage journeys despite discriminatory 12-Angry-Men juries captured in Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile. Old-fashioned, nostalgic and action-packed, it demonstrates housemaids don’t deserve Knives-Out suspicion Plummer-ting mansions experiencing Ransom. With adaptation, Branagh commemorates care-Charles author burdened Great-Expectations. Boasting Spielbergian cinematography, Hitchcockian production-design and phenomenal performances, it’s Marple-velous adaptation. Although Death on the Nile’s unforgettable, it isn’t flawless. It Poirot-ly runs-out-of-steam, constructing predictable conclusions Niles away. Nonetheless, it provides Elementary entertainment.

Amidst 1930’s Egypt, Death on the Nile traces lovers whose honeymoon vacation’s interrupted following unanticipated murder-scene investigations. Kenneth Branagh personifies Hercule Poirot, world-weary detective appreciating peaceful vacation. However, Poirot’s retirement’s halted following call-back-into-action protecting couple stalked ex-lover on Nile expedition. Jealousy transforms grisly following onboard murder. As everyone’s experiencing suspicion, Poirot combats superstitions.

Kenneth Branagh’s commonly succeeded concocting Ratchet murders aboard Orient-Express trains where everyone’s Poirot-ing psychopathics. Following 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express acknowledgements, Branagh’s transformed fantastic literatures filmmaker. His previous adaptation Murder on the Orient Express Ratchetted tension upper-class trains where everyone’s vain suspect scrutinized detectives with Herculean brains. With Death on the Nile, however, Branagh builds inclusive adaptation. It’s Branagh’s endeavors reinterpreting Agatha Christie’s legendary literature from racial perspective, but he accomplishes commendably. Using spellbinding cinematography, Branagh recreates ill-fated couple’s voyage expeditions under murder suspicions. Evoking Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Art, Branagh deftly recreates Egyptian location through manmade sets diversifying Agatha Christie’s Orientalist book. Like Indiana Jones’ globe-trotting expeditions across Egyptian locations’ Ark-of-Covenant excavations, Hercule Poirot transverses throughout Egypt excavations. Whereas John Guillermin’s Death on the Nile demonstrated Egypt purely sightseeing tourist locations offering “heat-and-heathens”, Branagh honors country’s archaeology. It signals refreshing departure from Dis-money making animations depicting Egypt whole-new-world countries where M-Aladdin-ous lovers travelling Jasmine magician carpets hoodwinking Jafar-ealous monarchies whose prayers are abandoned word-Smith genies. If previous adaptations highlighted Christie’s Temple-of-Doom prejudicial reputation, Branagh exhibits author’s obsession investigating Raiders-of-Lost-Ark artifacts through Last-Crusade locations amidst Kingdom-of-Crystal-Skull excavation. Alongside DP Haris Zambarloukos, Branagh celebrates Egyptian customs. Branagh constructs cinematic viewing.

If legendary literary voyage expeditions interpretations don’t attract attention, however, there’s numerous reasons to see Death on the Nile. Branagh effectively employs locations constructing vessels suspense where everyone’s suspicions. Amidst reinterpreting extraordinary literatures occurring customarily confined locations, production-designers commonly experience challenges creating nail-biting tension. Books set completely one location may be suspenseful on-pages but infrequently create tense cinematic interpretation. Whereas witnessing 12-Angry-Men attorneys debate legal jurisdiction symbolized tradition among elderly generations in Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men, modern-day audiences suffering low attention-span infrequently demonstrate patience condemning blockbusters occurring completely one location scarcely entertaining entire duration. For exemplification, Sidney Lumet’s Murder on the Orient Express showcased limitations shooting adaptation constrained train locations without Herculean production. Fortunately, however, Death on the Nile circumvents complication. Alongside production-designer Jim Clay, Branagh commendably uses confinement locations recreating Hitchcockian suspense. Case-in-point, confinement production builds tensions during Hercule Poirot’s black opera-singer interviews. During unforgettable sequence, Hercule Poirot interrogates African-American musicians under murderous corroboration. One recognizes claustrophobic production-design demonstrating Hercule Poirot’s voyeurism spying neighbor recalling Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Moreover, Patrick Doyle’s score’s superb. Evoking Robert Mulligan’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Blues song signal rarely dis-Atticus-ed black struggle. Through set-design, Branagh honors literature.

One recognizes Marple-velous acting.

Kenneth Branagh delivers career-defining performances as Hercule Poirot. Following moustache-twirling Murder on the Orient Express, Branagh’s emerged Herculean actor skilled at Poirot-ing literature detectives. With Death on the Nile, however, he humanizes investigator. If BBC’s series The ABC Murders portrayed Poirot as obsessed detective without emotions, Branagh imbues humanity into sleuths. Recalling Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC’s Sherlock, Branagh builds complex detective seeking mouth-Watson-ering connection despite Study-in-Pink career above interaction. With riveting expressions, he captures angst, jealousy and regrets of sleuth losing murder-solving pleasure. It’s Hercule performance honoring sleuth.

Supporting cast’s stellar. Emma Mackey’s superb, bringing sexual energy lover manipulation seeking s-Pike-y vengeance against couples for Gone Girl relation deterioration. Armie Hammer & Gal Gadot are perfectly paired, exuding Titanic chemistry as ill-fated couple unbeknownst voyage journey iceberg. Last, Letitia Wright’s memorable. As outspoken suspect, she’s remarkable.

Despite extraordinary performances, however, Death on the Nile embarks Poirot-less voyages journeys not shuddering L.A.-Confidential police authorities into Silence-of-Lambs like Seven sins belonging Zodiac serial-killer Usual-Suspects in Schindler’s-List treasuries. Branagh’s choice constructing Hercule Poirot’s backstory using black-and-white flashbacks is bold and unexpected, but doesn’t work. Owing misjudged technique, sequences highlighting Poirot’s World War II origin aren’t as entertaining as murder mysteries. Black-and-white flashbacks evidence appropriate for WWII historical movies about genocides (ex. Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List) over murder mysteries. Moreover, movie suffers foreseeable conclusion. Following recent sexual assault allegation against slandered actor, it’s all-too-easy guessing who committed murders. Whereas ending sharpened Bryan Singer’s Usual Suspects before Spacey allegations, it contradicts timings. Worst, it suggests sexual assault predators are always crimes perpetrators. As David Fincher’s Seven proved, murder mysteries beauty is commonly ambiguity limited knowledge boxes’ content by Pitt-iful policemen. Consequently, remake falters.

Conclusively, Death on the Nile won’t float everyone’s boats depending whether they enjoy reciting Agatha Christie’s quotes. Emulating Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs transgendered serial-killers, Branagh’s peoples-of-color treatments as silenced sacrificial lamb won’t please everyone. Branagh tackles classism, infidelity and discriminations provoking viewers. Viewers sensitive towards murder-demonstration won’t enjoy movie. Similarly, audiences with anti-classism ideologies won’t acknowledge Christie’s upper-classist preferences. Accordingly, not everyone’ll jump aboard journey.

Ultimately, Death on the Nile’s clueless detective conducting Peacock-sure crime investigation arresting Brown criminals guiding discriminatory preconceived notions. A Marple-velous mystery, it suggests minorities deserve Herculean seats maiden vessels journey feat. If Sherlockian detective requested resolving Study-in-Pink mystery of Agatha Christie’s Reichenbach-Fall hunted down by Hounds-of-Baskerville suggesting anything but Elementary-My-Dear-Watson, he’d advise industry provide postpone author’s Appointment-with-Death granting Shawshank-Redemption solving Zodiac mystery despite 12-Angry-Men jury using Gosford-Park class rather than dis-Atticus-ed judgement arresting celebrities chased by Pink-Panther detective hired Girl-with-Dragon-Tattoo hackers reprimanding Portier African-American police for rape witnessed Rear-Window In-the-Heat-of-the-Night whose Memories-of-Murder are safeguarded in L.A.-Confidential library steered by Serpico police authority suffering Memento Memory Loss in Chinatown city regarded neither fine-place-and-worth-fighting-for by Pitt-iful policemen following Se7en bodies’ discovered boxes belonging to Hannibals wishing-we-could-chat-longer-but-are-consuming-old-friend-for-dinner demonstrated by Danver-gerous keeper in mansion haunted prior imp-Rebecca-ble maid unemployed by Asian-American families following Parasite house-invasion burglaries.

Hassan’s Grade: B+