“While on vacation on the Nile, Hercule Poirot must investigate the murder of a young heiress.” – IMDB
I am always weary of films stacked with A-Listers, as the sheer number of them is usually used to distract the audience from missing elements elsewhere in the film. Death on the Nile is my case in point for this. Let me clarify…
The many notable actors in this film seemed to have been given free rein to make as many odd, artistic choices as they liked. It seems the filmmakers thought that we, the audience, would be distracted by the pretty faces. Among these many odd choices were the accents, an element that may seem inconspicuous and yet utterly broke my concentration on any other part of the film. I think the decision to let some of these indecipherable accents run amok came down to Sir Kenneth Branagh, who stars and directs, not being able to say no when he leads the pack of bad accents. The tone deaf leading the tone deaf. The accent butcherers included but were not limited to: the aforementioned Branagh, Annette Bening, Armie Hammer (:shiver:), Rose Leslie, Letitia Wright, and Jennifer Saunders. Also worth mentioning is Gal Gadot’s lack of accent, which somehow still feels out of place. Again, it may seem nit-picky of me to focus on these accents, but they are so completely distracting and they highlight a bigger problem within the film, which is utterly bizarre choices.
The pace of this film is also distracting, as the first half is spent building up so many different storylines at such a crawling pace, that, by the end, I was left not caring about what happened to any of the characters, dead or alive. The film also leans far too heavily into its use of CGI, as its predecessor Murder on the Orient Express did. Between the CGI and the odd use of edits and camera angles, I was completely taken out of the solid source material that is Agatha Christie’s classic whodunit. It doesn’t help that Knives Out came out shortly before this film was originally due to be released (pre-pandemic). Knives Out furthers the whodunnit genre, while Death on the Nile betrays it.
Again, every choice in this film just seemed odd and if the filmmakers thought they were being artistic, I wasn’t buying it. How do you have legends like French and Saunders in your film and barely afford them any comedic lines? I tried to give Kenneth Branagh one more shot, but if any more of these snoozers come out, I think I’ll skip them and try the Christie books instead!
Rating: 4 out 10 Claire Bears
If you like this movie, you should also watch: Murder on the Orient Express, Deep Water
Streaming: HBO Max
With: Tom Bateman, Annette Bening, Kenneth Branagh, Russell Brand
Directed By: Kenneth Branagh