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This umpteenth adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel never justifies its existence despite a starry cast and exotic locations.

Death on the Nile might not be as well-known to the general audience as Murder on the Orient Express is, but it did get a lavish seventies movie adaptation, so the question was always going to be what exactly Kenneth Branagh's new version would be able to add. Quite a lot actually, as it turns out.

His Death on the Nile not only includes a laudably diverse cast and touches upon an explosive late-1930s political context, it also fills in more of Hercule Poirot's past than any other adaptation of the Belgian sleuth's adventures ever has, including an entire backstory for his grotesque moustache.

These additions do not conceal the many other problems troubling Death on the Nile. The tone of the movie veers erratically from tame suspense to poor attempts at broad comedy, Branagh's direction is curiously scattershot and the entire film is hampered by horrendously stagey, digitally enhanced photography.

Combine this with a starry cast that - give or take a French and Saunders reunion - is mostly wasted and a basic plot that was always one of Agatha Christie's most ham-fisted affairs and you have a film that never justifies its existence.

release: 2022

director: Kenneth Branagh

starring: Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Annette Bening


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