A Crime Fiction Murder Mystery

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By Nirupa Mohan Dore

Ceylon Today Features

The newest mystery driven crime-fiction feature film, Death on the Nile, released last month, starring Gal Gadot as Linnet Ridgeway-Doyle, Armie Hammer as Simon Doyle, and Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot. The film features an old school murder mystery, onboard a luxury cruise ship, with everyone onboard suddenly a murder suspect.

The film comes as an adaptation based on the popular novel of the same name, written by Agatha Christie, which was first published in 1937, and had two feature film adaptations, with one in 1978 and the other in 2004. The film’s release comes as part of the Murder on the Orient Express (2017)film Series.

Death on the Nile focuses on a murder mystery, as a newly wedded couple’s honeymoon ends in a sudden murder, on a luxury river steamer, with renowned detective Hercule Poirot’s Egyptian holiday, suddenly turning into a search for the killer, who might just be among the close circle of acquaintances onboard. The movie starts slow, as it introduces the characters, and then suddenly becomes fast paced, as the drama unfolds.

The film is easily enjoyable, and engaging, as viewers immerse themselves in a story that tries to uncover who the murderer could be, among a group of individuals, each with their own grudge and motives. The story initially shows everyone as a possible suspect, and then one by one, rules out the innocent. It is both straightforward and intriguing, trying to figure out who committed the crime, while the story unfolds with several subplots. 

The film’s director Kenneth Branagh does exceptionally well as the films lead, reprising his role as Hercule Poirot, a Belgian Sleuth, who investigates and interrogates the guests, to find out who could have committed such a crime. Meanwhile Tom Bateman returns as his friend, Bouc.

The film also stars Ali Fazal as Andrew Katchadourian, Emma Mackey as Jacqueline De Bellefort, Letitia Wright as Rosalie Otterbourne, Russell Brand as Doctor Ludwig Bessner, Annette Bening as Euphemia, and Rose Leslie as Loise Bourget, among others.

The 127-minute film, produced by Kenneth Branagh, Judy Hofflund, Kevin J. Walsh and Ridley Scott, was made in collaboration with production companies Scott Free Productions, TSG Entertainment, Kinberg Genre and Mark Gordon Pictures. Made with a budget of US$90 million, the film went on to easily earn over 103.5 million at the worldwide box-office.

Death on the Nile received mixed reviews with moderate ratings, with 64 per cent featured on Rotten Tomatoes, 52 per cent on Metacritic and 6.6/10 on IMDb, with some calling the film inferior in comparison to its predecessors, while others appreciated the film’s cast and old-fashioned layout.

This is an entertaining murder mystery, supported by a well selected cast of actors, in a picture-perfect setting, backed by visual effects. Death on the Nile is an easily enjoyable crime drama that many who are fans of the cast and those who enjoy a bit of mystery, will appreciate.