Death on the Nile – the must see murder mystery or best left dead and buried?

by | Apr 4, 2022 - 10:30AM | Movies

Movie poster for Death on The Nile

A sequel to the 2017 film, ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, Kenneth Branagh returns as the world famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.

The plot follows Poirot as his Egyptian vacation aboard a glamorous river steamer turns into a terrifying search for a murderer when a picture-perfect couple’s idyllic honeymoon is tragically cut short.

With a private screening of the film and not much foreknowledge of the book upon which it is based, the motion picture didn’t have to do much to impress. However, by the end film’s end, there were mixed feelings from this reviewer.

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The Good

With a star studded cast, it was good fun to see all of them interacting throughout the film. Every cast member played their roles well – even if Tom Bateman’s Bouc was a bit irritable to begin with. Branagh has proven to be a decent fit for the role of the lead detective and his passion for the part shines through.

The plot too was neither too complicated nor too simple. Those who have read the book will naturally know what’s coming. But for the causal film goer, it proves to be an enjoyable game of cat and mouse as you try and figure out who the killer is.

The set designs and cinematography were a mixed bag. They’re included here because if you didn’t focus on them too much, it enabled the film to look quite pretty.

The soundtrack by Patrick Doyle (who scored Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) fit nicely into the film too and added to the suspenseful nature.

The Bad

While the good parts certainly made the film fun, it lacked in depth. It felt like a 2D experience instead of a film where you could really immerse yourself into the narrative.

The opening and closing scenes too felt a bit out of place. They added to Branagh’s version of the Belgian sleuth but perhaps not quite as much as he may have wanted. If you’d cut these parts from the film, you wouldn’t have enjoyed it any less.

The run time is just over two hours and yet the pacing feels a little muddled. Slow to begin with, it quickens a bit too much as we near the end of the final act. A slower burn overall with some more time to flesh out some of the supporting cast would have served the film better.

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Death on the Nile final thoughts

Death on the Nile is an enjoyable murder mystery for when you just want to go to the cinema, eat some popcorn and be entertained.

It falls a bit flat overall, partly due the mixed pacing of the film and the relatively straightforward nature of the plot. That isn’t to say that Agatha Christie’s plot is bad. It’s just the way it was presented here wasn’t as good at the TV adaptation from 2004 starring David Suchet. Not quite on the same level as Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile falls victim to being the worse off sequel film.

The silver lining to that though is that the next film in the Poirot series (as of writing, it’s in development) will surely be more sophisticated.

Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Emma Makey and Tom Bateman

Directed by Kenneth Branagh

Death on the Nile review: Three Stars

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