Nothing better than Agatha Christie’s thrillers 1) to bring up to date a forgotten genre, the cruise blockbuster, with a lot of digital technologies. 2) To re-propose the most common question among black worshipers: better Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes? 3) To clarify who was better to play the handlebar-moustached Belgian detective: Tony Randall, Albert Finney, Peter Ustinov, Alfred Molina or current kingmaker Kenneth Branagh? The plot takes second place this time. The psychological intricacies of the plot devoutly leave room for technical prodigies from cinepanettone to Panavision with Egyptian decor.
And if in Murder on the Orient Express at the end there was a guilty whole that hid a deep discourse on Good and Evil but that for a fan of criminality it was the equivalent of a white net, here the sensations, that is to say the love story between heiress Linnet Ridgeway (reigning Wonder Woman Gal Gadot) and Simon Doyle (Armie Hammer)where Emma Mackay’s Jacqueline appears, they overcome the adventure and the show overflows in the figurative and geographical sense, in the camera movements, in the composition of the characters and objects, in the chromatic delirium. The director then dedicates a surprising black and white opening to Poirot dating back to the Great War and enriching him with memories of the one true love of his life, Katherine.
The plot must obviously be kept top secret. Suffice it to say that the initial sequence of murdered deaths and the resulting hunt for the culprit up and down from majestic Karnakwith the usual suspicions, deceptions and twists, comes with an obsessive crazy Love. When you have a lot of money, no one is ever really friends with you, Linnet told Poirot. It goes without saying that the casting is not worth that of the previous chapter: Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer are replaced by Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Tom Bateman and the aforementioned Gal Gadot and that Armie Hammer who, like Depp then, is having an opaque professional moment stemming from accusations of sexual violence.
After having done very well in two cine-rebuses like Dunkirk And Principlewhile waiting for the Oscars of the little masterpiece of Belfast, Branagh juggles to please him show bizadding the spice of Shakespearian experience to an accent he seemed to have buried once he was sixty. He respects political correctness, but takes too many liberties with Agatha Christie’s text at the risk of horrifying fans. And he loses the scathing portrait of thehigher class Englishman of the time who was in the Lady of the Yellow novels. Murder on the Orient Express in 2018 an overall collection of 350 million dollars, 14 million euros in Italy alone. Unimaginable that Murder on the Nile you go so far because in the meantime the world has changedand with it the cinema.
MURDER ON THE NILE by Kenneth Branagh
(USA, 2022, duration 127′)
with Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Rose Leslie, Annette Bening, Emma Mackay, Letitia Michelle Wright
Rating: *** ++ out of 5
In the hallways
February 12, 2022 | 10:14
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