My son took me to see Death on the Nile. It was sweet and funny, because he gets free tickets as a perk with his job, and he’d seen the posters and knew very little about the movie, only that he thought I’d enjoy it. I enthusiastically fell in line with his plan. Not only do I enjoy spending some rare time with the teenager just relaxing, but I really did want to see Death on the Nile. The funny bit came in once I’d agreed to go and he looked at me seriously and aske ‘So, what’s it about?’
I’ve been reading Agatha Christie for many years, and have seen rather a lot of the David Suchet Poirot adapted for TV, so I was curious about this take on the novel. Kenneth Branagh being involved gave me hope – he’s responsible for one of my favorite film adaptations of Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing.
It is a good adaptation. It is not wholly true to the book – rarely is this the case! – but it seems to have been handled with a sympathetic hand, and kept true to the spirit of Christie’s detective and storyline. If you’d like to see more details, with loads of spoilers (what? even if you’ve read the book, this will spoil the movie), check out this article.
I was able to relax and enjoy it, as the tension ratchets up, and then through the cascading climaxes of the story. Christie is, of course, Mistress of Mystery, and the movie doesn’t set aside much of her plot in order to keep the necessarily shortened timespan of a film. The thing is, most movies are about a novella’s worth of story. Adapting a novel means that you will have to cut, and sometimes cut deeply, to get it all into the two allotted hours.
The costuming was mostly excellent although I’m not an expert on it by any means. It felt right. The lighting is luminous and golden, just what you’d expect from an Egypt which no longer exists in reality.
The best part of all? My son left the theater wanting more. I wound up buying him the novel (in paper, he’s not a digital reader, oddly enough) and getting the DVD of Branagh’s adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express for both of us to watch together, along with the older version of Death on the Nile for comparison purposes. I may come back with another review in a week or so!
In the meantime, I’d say that if you are inclined to enjoy a warm sunny murder, this one will soothe the urge.