The Stream: A murder mystery that’s obvious from the beginning.
The Big Screen: Poirot’s mustache and a standout performance from Sophie Okonedo.
The Final Bill: Not enough mystery or fun to be worth the time–
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writers: Michael Green based upon a novel by Agatha Christie
Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Annette Bening, Letitia Wright, and Sophie Okonedo
Genre: Drama, Crime, Mystery
Rating: PG-13 for violence and some bloody images
Runtime: 1 hour 59 minutes
Production Companies: 20th Century Studios, Kinberg Genre, Scott Free Productions
Platform: In theaters
Who doesn’t love a good murder mystery, Streamers? Isn’t that why y’all are watching almost 30 years of “Law & Order” episodes, Jessica Fletcher solve crimes everywhere she goes, and there’s even a Hallmark Mystery Channel! “Murder, She Baked”, anyone? Well, Hercule Poirot fits right in with that group – the original Benoit Blanc. Last time we saw Poirot he was apprehending the murderers on the Orient Express. This time he’s in Egypt for some rest and relaxation; but, unfortunately, death lurks just around the corner. Hence, the name of latest Poirot installment, Death on the Nile. Here’s how it went.
Death on the Nile is an adaptation of the Agatha Christie murder mystery novel of the same name. Like Murder on the Orient Express, Kenneth Branagh directs an all-star cast and reprises the role of renown French detective, Hercule Poirot. In Death on the Nile, Poirot has multiple investigations going on at once during what was supposed to be a vacation. Poirot is invited to accompany a young heiress, Linnet Ridgeway (Gal Gadot) on her honeymoon with her new husband, Simon Doyle (Armie Hammer), whom Linnet has married after only six weeks of knowing him. The rest of the wedding party is filled out with guests connected to Linnet and affected by her money: her godmother, her aunt, her friend, her lawyer, her maid, etc. You get the picture. Murder(s) ensue and Poirot investigates.
There’s really only so much to say about Death on the Nile. If you’ve seen one of these ensemble murder mystery movies, then you’ve seen them all. Knives Out was successful because it felt fresh and clever. Death on the Nile is neither fresh nor clever. Okay, it tries to have some humor, but it is sorely lacking. What’s worse is that there really isn’t much mystery to the mystery. The movie attempts to say there are a lot of different character whodidit, but this whodunnit is quite obvious and thus dreadfully boring. The one bright spot is Sophie Okonedo as Salome Otterbourne. She comes in and steals every scene she’s in. This movie desperately needs her energy, but there isn’t enough of it.
Ultimately, Death on the Nile is more of the same, which isn’t good enough for time at the theater. The murder mystery has virtually no mystery. There’s very little attempt to put any humor on display. The only actual interesting thing is Sophie Okonedo’s energetic performance. It could be good at home on a lazy Sunday afternoon, so I guess it’s a handful of popcorn.