NOTICE: THIS REVIEW WAS AUTHORED BY A GUEST WRITER, LUIGI PARENTELA. HE CAN BE FOUND ON LINKTREE, AND ALL AUTHOR CREDITS SHOULD GO TO HIM.
One of the world’s best detectives returns in Death on the Nile, the sequel to Murder on the Orient Express. The film sees the return of 5-time Oscar nominee Kenneth Branagh. Unsurprisingly, Branagh is both behind and in front of the camera.
Long delayed by COVID-19, Branagh’s adaptation of the novel is far from perfect, but is an amazing experience. It’s a classic whodunnit about a murder on a steamer making its way down the river in Egypt with an Anglo-American boatful of cameos aboard. The new film is crisper and craftier than Murder on the Orient Express and, while it takes a lot to get moving, it’s easier to follow the clues among the A-List cast of this Egyptian cruise.
Michael Green will adapt with some adjustments (people of color are introduced, dislike for her wealthy-hypocrite leftwing character has dialed down). However, the script sacrifices much of the playful wit to spend time digging beneath the surface of Poirot. Starting with: a black-and-white World War I prologue about his powers of deduction and the origin of his signature moustache.
Once the horrible homicide occurs, the movie goes through a snowball of momentum that takes it right to its resolution. The passengers will have to spring into action. Hercule Poirot will interview suspects, supervise corpse-storage in the ship’s galley freezer cabinet, and naturally deliver the final unmasking.
Branagh creates a film that retains its predecessor’s leading star, the ensemble is made up of a completely new squad. Newcomers are Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman 1984), Annette Bening (The Report), Emma Mackey (Sex Education), Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones). Controversial actors Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name), Russell Brand (Paradise) and Letitia Wright (Black Panther) also star.
Without getting into spoiler territory, Death on the Nile still juggles many ulterior motives, but whittles down the variables tenfold. Riding the fine line between holding their audiences’ intrigue, while not being too convoluted, is crucial for mysteries. While Orient Express teetered, Nile acrobatically balances for its entire runtime.