Death on the Nile

Death on the Nile (2022)

Directed by Kenneth Branagh. Screenplay by Michael Green, based on the novel by Agatha Christie.

This is Kenneth Branagh’s second outing portraying the great Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot and directing the action. As with the previous Murder on the Orient Express (2017), this is an ensemble piece, drawing together some of the biggest names in contemporary cinema, probably all jumping at the chance to work with Branagh – I know I would be!

Like it’s predecessor, there are script adjustments, new characters added to bring it into the 21st century, (which thankfully draws Letitia Wright and Sophie Okonedo into the mix) and a callback character from the previous film. Overall, the cast are fine and it’s everything you’d expect from a film of this genre and style. The set design, costuming cinematography and lighting are sumptuous, coupled with a soundtrack that is period perfect, making this a feast for the senses. And therein lies one of the biggest flaws in this film – it’s too gorgeous. Yes, it serves as an important reminder of the opulent world these people inhabit but I find it detracted from them – the characters I wanted to meet, get to know, empathise with. The beauty overrode the rest of the film and never let me forget I was watching a movie.

I know many who adore Branagh’s skills as an actor and director (I include myself in that club) so what I’m about to say might sound heretical.

My other issue with this movie is Branagh’s take on Poirot, he plays him more as a man of action, which traditionally, Poirot is not. It’s very subjective (isn’t all art?) but after seeing this, I desperately wanted to rewatch David Suchet who, in my opinion, is a far more flamboyant version of the character, yet remains utterly human, unafraid to display his flaws and leans far more heavily into the character from Christie’s many books.

In conclusion, this is not as good as Murder on the Orient Express (2017) which I found far more entertaining. It is incredibly well made and almost too beautiful to look at – but ultimately, lacking in substance. Perfectly fine while it’s on screen but ultimately, forgettable.Death on the Nile is currently screening in selected cinemas in Australia and available to stream on Disney Plus.