12. A film released in 2022: Death on the Nile (2022)
List Progress: 4/12
This film starts with an origin story for a mustache.
So many issues with the 2022 adaptation of Agatha Christie’s mystery novel Death on the Nile are encapsulated with that opening sequence. Kenneth Branagh’s detective Hercule Poirot cannot just be a funny little man with a silly mustache. If he has a silly mustache, it must be because he is a World War 1 hero who sustained massive facial injuries in the line of duty and wants to cover the scars (because as we all know, facial hair grows wonderfully over scar tissue). He can’t be someone who thrives on mysteries, he must also have a tragic lost love. He can’t bring everyone together in a parlor for the classic reveal, he has to cage all the suspects together and hold them at gunpoint. Branagh and the film seem to believe that if Poirot is not a classic movie star that audiences will reject him, ignoring the fact that the character has endured for over one hundred years precisely because he is a funny little man.
Death on the Nile, a sequel to the 2017 adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, follows Poirot as he joins a party taking a luxury cruise down the Nile. A wealthy heiress, played by a very stiff Gal Gadot, has married a handsome nobody, stealing him away from her friend who was already engaged to him. The scorned friend has stalked the newlyweds onto their honeymoon, and they try to get Poirot’s help in stopping her obsessive plans. Disaster strikes once the couple, the former friend, several other acquaintances and enemies, and Poirot’s party-boy friend Bouc are all isolated on the boat and it is up to Poirot to crack the case. The set-up, even after the mustache’s origin story, takes far too long, and the murders in this murder mystery end up feeling perfunctory. If the movie isn’t going to have fun with the Poirot character, and isn’t going to have fun with the murder mystery, then what is the point? Was it really that important to put some good costumes and bad CGI on the screen for two hours?
These are watchable movies, and there are moments where the heart of Poirot shines through and the story resonates. But they are few and far between, lost in a wash of champagne and fake-looking sand. There are worse movies out there, and worse Christie adaptations, but this one just isn’t worth the time. Spend the day tending your marrows instead.
Would I Recommend It: No.