The new murder mystery “Death on the Nile,” is based on Agatha Christie’s captivating “Detective Poirot” book series. It is a slower burn than its predecessor, “Murder on the Orient Express,” but will still have you highly suspicious of every character, some more some than others.
A wedding party during a honeymoon vacation turns deadly, and it is up to the uniquely mustached Hercule Poirot to find out who the killer is.
The story does not really begin until after the first half. The beginning delves into Poirot’s tragic past and the love of his life. Once the film finally sets into the present, 1920’s Egypt, we see all the potential suspects and victims before spending the majority of the first half setting up the “whodunit” part.
Kenneth Branagh portrays the mustached Poirot who is in Egypt on a secret case. He witnesses the dramatic introduction between average man Simon Doyle, played by Armie Hammer, and heiress Linnet Ridgeway, played by Gal Gadot. A short time later he learns of their controversial marriage and subsequent honeymoon in Cairo.
After running into the famed detective, the couple requests he accompany them and their guests onto a riverboat to take them down the Nile. However, Linnet has an ulterior motive to have Poirot aboard with them.
Once the bodies start dropping, Hercule Poirot must do what he does best, find out who the murderer is. One by one he interrogates the other guests including both the couple’s ex-fiancee’s, played by Emma Mackey and Russel Brand respectively, a sketchy cousin, played by Ali Fazal, and a former schoolmate, played by Letitia Wright.
With convincing red herrings and a couple of gotcha moments, the pace of the film thankfully picks up and leaves you finally trying to guess “whodunit”. The more exciting second half delved into everyone’s skeletons hiding in their closets, leaving enough motive for anyone to have been the killer.
The unfortunate part is what happens when you find out exactly who it is. It is an anti-climatic ending that leaves you wondering if that is all there was to it.
The star studded cast was fun and seemed to get into their characters, except Gadot, who for some reason kept her accent despite her character not being Israeli. She seemed to just be herself rather than the character of Linnet Ridgeway, and it flattened the performance.
Compared to its predecessor, the film definitely is not as captivating and engaging. The long setup really left me begging for one of the famous faces to get murdered so it could get a bit more interesting.
It is a fun watch from the halfway mark. The beginning could have been better and more captivating to really have the audience on the tips of their toes trying to play detective along with Poirot.
“Death on the Nile” is now playing in local theaters.