Death on the Nile: sinking review


After launching the Poirot Cinematic Universe with Murder on the Orient-Express , Kenneth Branagh continues the adventures of the famous Belgian private detective on the big screen with another adaptation of a cult book by Agatha Christie: Death on the Nile . The way for the filmmaker to bring together a new cast of stars with Gal Gadot , Armie Hammer , Annette Bening or Letitia Wright , and to raise the bar after the turnip that was Murder on the Orient-Express ?

During its first moments, Death on the Nile amazes and surprises. white and a worked staging.secrets hidden under his enormous mustache.

However, something goes wrong very quickly with this opening and a question quickly comes to monopolize the spirits: what does this warrior aside come to do in Death on the Nile ?

In front of Death on the Nile, it is obvious that Kenneth Branagh lives a real drama with this Poirot Cinematic Universe: he dreams of making a film on Hercule Poirot whereas his investigations have precisely nothing to do with him . This was already felt in Murder on the Orient-Express where the detective became a real heroic figure, abandoning his mannered and stilted attitude to throw himself into the mouth With this new investigation, Kenneth Branagh therefore continues to make the detective a great tragic figure eager to solve the problems with vigorous chases and muscular confrontations.

The will of the filmmaker is even literally explained by one of the characters addressing Hercule Poirot at the end of the film: “I would have preferred not to meet you in your works” . It is not trivial if only the long prologue has the right to a careful realization, to the skilful camera movements and to the pleasant visual setting: it is all that interests the director. And inevitably, the final result suffers a lot.

(not calibrated at all) and modeling worthy of software operating only on Windows 97. Even if it is shot in 65mm (yes yes like Lawrence of Arabia or Ben-Hur ), nothing seems real in Death on the Nile and it is not its regular visual inconsistencies that save its digital mush ( these balloons apparently victims of gravity only in the boat and not outside).

One thing is certain, it is difficult to understand or simply unacceptable to offer viewers such a technically despicable feature film even though its filming has been completed since December We also refuse to talk too deeply about Kenneth Branagh’s uninspired staging.

such a camera. Except that finally, as soon as the tension increases and the device begins, the sequence shot will be abandoned for a wacky cutting leaving aside any form of scenic ambition .

Unsurprisingly, the whole thing is therefore extremely bland and over-symbolic (these mummified bodies, etc.), the Briton having absolutely no point of view on the investigation he is telling. And if we will not dwell more on this point, it is because another even more problematic paradox encumbers the feature film: its story itself.

In his Death on the Nile released in 1978, director John Guillermin and screenwriter Anthony Shaffer (behind The Wicker Man or Le Limier, and who later became a specialist in adaptations of Agatha Christie’s books) chose to take some liberties with their source material. Their adaptation might not be quite exact (and a little wobbly here and there), but it stood and never distorted the original work.

For their part, Kenneth Branagh and Michael Green (screenwriter of the film, as for Murder on the Orient-Express ) manage to achieve a feat: to be too faithful while being completely off the mark . Because if the two men seem to have wanted to stick as closely as possible to the book on the identity of the culprit (s) (we will not say anything about this for novices) of the events at the heart of the film, they have also added parts of intrigues, making the narrative messy and overloaded.

It’s very simple, the sharp and precise pen of Agatha Christie is replaced by a totally unreadable plot . We are not going to hide from you that even knowing all the ins and outs of the story, Death on the Nile is so badly told that it is exhausting to watch. Apart from the lack of rhythm in the film, caused in large part by the asides in the story about the character of Hercule Poirot and the links between.

Trying too hard to connect everything, even modernizing its story by confronting certain characters with their status and current subjects (homosexuality, racism, etc.), Death on the Nil never succeeds in developing the multiple suspects and therefore in making its captivating whodunit.

In short, both narratively and technically, Death on the Nile is a real disaster, despite the presence of a five-star cast on board . Gal Gadot may well be one of the stars of the moment (along with Wonder Woman ), her range of emotions or facial expressions is confirmed here as one of the most restricted in Hollywood. We also almost wonder if the feature film was not above all the way to prove that she was in the best position to play Cleopatra when she appears dressed as a pharaoh in a WTF plan that came out of nowhere.

Armie Hammer, he may get out of it honorably, he regularly visits the land of overplay (who sobs like that, seriously?). Horrors probably caused by Kenneth Branagh’s overly theatrical acting direction, less bad than in Murder on the Orient-Express concerning him, which draws nothing from the vast majority of its cast (poor Annette Bening).

Fortunately, there remains an actress to restore the image of this journey a little: Emma Mackey . The young French actress exudes something both seductive and constantly disturbing, fitting perfectly with the ambiguity of her character. Too little, however, to prevent Death on the Nile from sinking itself.