Death on the Nile [Grade: 75.8%]

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Story By: Michael Green (Agatha Christie Adaptation)

Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Tom Bateman, Letitia Wright, Emma MacKey, Sophie Okonedo, Annette Bening, Rose Leslie, Ali Fazal, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, & Russell Brand 

* * *

You know… this was a pretty safe film. It wasn’t extraordinarily good, but it also wasn’t terribly bad. I can honestly say that I was satisfied even though something tells me the book is much better than the film.

* * *

Theme: A

Plot & Story: A-

Pacing: A-

Character: B

* * *

Entertainment Factors

General Public: Wait for Streaming

Film Enthusiasts: Don’t Watch

Experience Seekers (via Visuals & Score): Don’t Watch

Crime Mystery Fans: Interesting Enough

* * *

TAKEAWAYS:

1. First off, I was personally impressed with Russell Brand. 👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾

2. This film has a runtime of 120 minutes, and for the most part it moves quite well. Acts Two and Three were definitely the most exciting of the film for me; and though Act One may not have been as exciting, the intentionality was apparent while still being engaging enough.

The only concern I had was the quick bouncing in time in Act One. It made it obvious that there was a need to rush in editing—1914, 1936, Six Weeks Later… I just think something could’ve been added to help make those transitions smoother or more intentional.  🤷🏾‍♂️

3. To be quite honest, the story was quite predictable. I knew the moment the murder happened who had done it. I just didn’t know the how… 🤷🏾‍♂️

4. Chile, not getting they freak on in the tombs! 😩🤦🏾‍♂️😂

5. You know, there is something about the roles Gal Gadot takes on… I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something feels very typecast-ish…almost like Cameron Diaz… 🤔🧐

6. “Love has the ability to be manipulative, persuasive and domineering.” This is a message that stuck out to me, and that I found to have solid execution. 

We see this theme manifest itself in multiple ways: 

Detective Poirot’s “look”

Act Three’s reveal. 

The Bouc investigation.

The numerous times some form of love was mentioned as a possible motive. 

And even some of the choices made while at the engagement party. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾

7. I really didn’t like the writing that much. The scene where Letitia had her moment on the stairs going off on Poirot, I was like… “huh?” Or maybe it was the delivery? It was weird… 🥴🥴

8. Though Kenneth Branagh was such an enjoyable character to follow with this film, his character development annoyed me a bit. We see him at the start of the film in a dangerous situation which helps to introduce the theme—great. 

However, how he ends up being who he is is just really sudden. I mean… why not just start the entire film off with him as a detective already? The dramatics were not really necessary. 

Additionally, I am not sure how comfortable I felt with all the accents and their lack of clarity. There were quite a few lines that were hard to understand, and I couldn’t tell if Rosie was from the States who came to London for boarding school, or from London who was in boarding school… were they from the UK or were they just posh ass people? It was like the accents and trying to also blend in the cadence of the 30s/40s just didn’t work well. 

I could also bring up the past relationship between Jacquline and Linnet–like is Linnet supposed to be seen as, for lack of better terms, a “hoe” in order to be put in that situation? 🤦🏾‍♂️🤷🏾‍♂️

9. You know… I also liked Emma Mackey. She gave some good close up moments. 👍🏾👍🏾

10. When a fiancé is murdered while celebrating an engagement in Egypt, a detective is asked to figure out who committed the crime—this is Death on the Nile. 

As mentioned with the pacing, Acts Two and Three are where the story shines with Kenneth Branagh taking us on his investigative journey. The story also did a good job making sense of scenes from Act One in the film’s conclusion (I didn’t realize this until after I got home and was processing the film).  

I am on the fence, though, about Act One’s focus on Detective Poirot. I think that is where the marked was missed a little because though he steers the story, he isn’t the story… and if he IS the story, then how those first 15 minutes were used didn’t make me care enough about his story. 🤷🏾‍♂️

* * *

Overall #DeathOnTheNile gives Thin Line Between Love and Hate – meets Clue – meets Knives Out – meets a Twisted Romeo and Juliet – meets Act 3 of Acrimony

I did enjoy my viewing, but I also didn’t need to go to the theater/spend money to watch it. And actually, this would make a bomb ass HBO or Netflix series in order to unpack characters a little more—specifically Poirot. 

Additionally, there is a level of predictability with the story, but the fun is figuring/finding out the “how” of what you’re already going to know the moment it happens. 

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