Death on the Nile has it all in a mystery film of detective story, shocking deaths, series of murder, suspicious characters, motives, jealousy, alibis, twists, analysis monologue, and of course the most important of all, the big reveal. Everything is on the Death on the Nile, despite all of the elements are not incorporated very well.
The movie adaptation from the Agatha Christie’s novel from 1937 with the same title tells the journey of a Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) during his vacation at Egypt where he ‘accidently’ invited into a glamorous honeymoon of Linnet Ridgeway (Gal Gadot) and Simon Doyle (Armie Hammer) on a cruise trip on the Nile.
Linnet and Simon are all perfect. They are an attractive pair of newlyweds that radiate wealth and status, they fall in love at the first sight, honeymoon abroad with the majestic background of Giza and Sphinx.
But their travel party happens to include an assortment of help, relatives, and former lovers, each carrying some form of veiled spite for the married couple. The most volatile of this group is party-crasher Jacqueline de Bellefort (Emma Mackey), Simon’s former girlfriend and Linnet’s former friend.
The glamorous honeymoon trip soon turns into a terrifying search for a murderer after Linnet found died in her room and her ‘heavily-sponsored Tiffany & Co’ necklace was lost. The murder continues, but the love narrative is still closely attached to all aspect of the story.
The movie is open with a scene of Belgian soldiers during World War 1 and shows Hercule Poirot analyze the situation to siege the enemy territory and also his long-forgotten story of a woman that he once loved. At the very beginning we are already made aware that the main narrative of this murder story will be under the reason of love.
The scene goes to 1937 in London, with a deadly romantic triangle that ignites in a jazz club in London and quickly segues to the marvelously appointed luxury riverboat the S.S. Karnak, which has been commissioned by the obscenely wealthy heiress Linnet Ridgeway-Doyle for a honeymoon cruise down the Nile.
The movie is serious on the production design. The costume, the set, and the CG are lavish and satisfying to look at. The camera direction is satisfying for detective led story especially when Poirot is on act in interrogating the suspects. It looks grand and centered.
Staying true to his thespian background, Branagh gets the most out of his performers. He is charismatic and flawless. Despite of that, the big reveal part is quite lacking as it denies the viewers’ satisfaction of seeing the clues come together convincingly. In many instances, key evidence is either barely mentioned or not mentioned at all until Poirot’s final monologue. It lacks of collaborative part of mystery film where viewers also can guess who is the killers from the showed scenes.
Our Score (7.5/10)
Title : Death on the Nile
Production : 20th Century Studio
Director : Kenneth Branagh
Screenwriter : Michael Green
Original Story : Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
Casts : Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Emma Mackey, and Tom Bateman