I really enjoyed Murder on the Orient Express (2017), it featured an all star cast (much like the 1974 adaptation) but the thunder somewhat got stolen by Knives Out a couple of years later, telling a more modern story in a more modern setting grabs audiences more than an older story in an older setting that audiences had seen before.
Death on the Nile takes place in Egypt after Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) is back after he is holidaying there, he tags a long with Bouc (Tom Bateman) to the Wedding between Simon Doyle (Armie Hammer) and Linnet Ridgeway (Gal Gadot) and get invited aboard a boat trip down the Nile, when one of party is murdered, Poirot must solve the crime.
I haven’t seen any other adaptation of this story so I didn’t know what to expect and was going in completely blind. Because Murder on the Orient Express is so unique in comparison to other murder mysteries, it was also going to be a hard act to follow especially when this one is more typical murder mystery with the odd twist and turns which do really work for me and where some of the enjoyable parts, however I did find myself losing interesting the longer the interogation scenes went on.
The cast are a big part of these films and I think the cast in MotOE was better in general when you look at the names involved. That’s not to say the cast in this one is bad, you have the returning Kenneth Branagh and Tom Bateman, with Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Emma Mackey, Annette Benning, Letitia Wright, Rose Leslie, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Russell Brand and Sophie Okonedo.
This film was always ging to struggle when it had two people who were in the news for being controversial (If you can call being a cannibal controversial) and neither of them are Russell Brand. I don’t have as much of a problem with Letitia Wright’s opinion but it did make me think for a second, everytime she was on screen. Armie Hammer’s inclusion in the film was scaled down in the marketing, but to remove him from the film would’ve been extremely difficult when he plays such a large part. This was the biggest distraction for me, unfortunately for the rest of the cast and crew that worked on this film it leaves a salty taste in the mouth, for someone we will unlikely see working again in Hollywood.
But onto the rest of the cast and it was the two main ladies who are two talking points. Emma Mackey was an unknown before she was cast in hit Netflix series, Sex Education. She has a decent size role in this film and steals the show from the big names, out acting basically everyone. It won’t be a surprise if more offers fly her way soon, and will have people watching out for Madelyn Cline in the Knives Out sequel, whos career has a similar trajectory. Gal Gadot was the person people were talking about after the trailers hit for this film after a delivery of a line about “filling the Nile with Champagne” was ridiculed and criticised, and in the film the line works, but her performance was still wooden. She is a big star because of Wonder Woman, but always seems to struggle when it comes to the more serious side of acting. Gal’s talent is undeniable but perhaps needs more work before taking on serious roles over action ones.
Overall, I enjoyed Death on the Nile getting to see Branagh doing a fun and strong performance as Poirot with that glorious facial hair this version of the character rocks, Mackey steals the show from the all star cast but these positives don’t take away from a standard murder mystery story, which will be known for Hammer’s inclusion more than anything.
What did you think of Death on the Nile?