Death on the Nile

It’s tempting to comment on the stunning cinematography in Death on the Nile, with shots in Egypt of the Sphinx, Pyramids of Giza and the Abu Simbel temples, but in reality the entire film was shot in studios in England.

Based on the 1937 Agatha Christie novel of the same name, fans of the obsessive compulsive but brilliant detective Hercule Poirot will enjoy this dramatic recreation of her written work. Here he is played by Kenneth Branagh, who also directs the film.

 

The Christie recipe for murder mysteries requires the initial introduction of the cast of characters. This can feel a bit contrived, rushed, and not unlike weekly episodes of The Love Boat. But once assembled, the story begins to gel and each person on a luxury river cruise down the Nile appears to have motive and opportunity to commit the crime.

 

The steam driven paddle-wheeler Karnak evokes feelings of the Titanic. There are plenty of private cabins, hiding places and corridors through which chases can take place. On board is an electric guitar strumming female singer whose daughter becomes romantically involved with Poirot’s friend Bouc. But wait, were Gibson guitars around in 1937? In fact, they were introduced in 1936. That would have been a glaring mistake. Phwew!

 

Armie Hammer plays Simon Doyle, newly-wed husband of wealthy Linnet Ridgeway, played by Gal Godot. Her performance here, as in other films, seems flat. She lacks screen charisma. Maybe you don’t need that to play Wonder Woman, but it would have been welcome here.

Jacqueline de Bellefort (Emma Mackey) is the bitter fiancé left behind by Doyle, and she keeps showing up in all the wrong places, with a gun.

 

Poirot’s patented interviews with guests lead you astray, and guessing “who done it” all the way to the story’s end. This film earned a “That was okay” upon leaving the theater.

 

 

Death on the Nile (2022) runs 2 hours, 8 minutes and is rated PG-13

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