Murder on the Orient Express Part 2.
I saw Death on the Nile in theaters and evidently didn’t think about it much after to write a review. So much so that I didn’t realize I hadn’t written a review until I noticed the film was on HBO Max and came back here to link the review I hadn’t written to a friend of mine. Which I can’t do because I hadn’t written it. Until now that is.
Death on the Nile is the direct sequel to Murder on the Orient Express, the 2017 film directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot, charismatic Belgian detective who solves the mysteries quite good like. Last film Hercule investigated a death on the Orient Express. This time he will also investigate a murder, but on a boat instead of a train. Murder on the Orient Boat. That boat ain’t the only thing on the Nile.
First off I’d like to note that the ending of Orient Express doesn’t match with this movie, as the film ends with Hercule receiving a note that there has been a murder on the Nile. When we come into this film, he’s not actually investigating a murder in Egypt. That comes much later in the film. One positive I will say is that the killing doesn’t happen in this movie until well over an hour into the flick. We get a crapload of time to set up the characters, give plenty of motivation to the side characters to make everyone a reasonable suspect, and it gives us time to settle in and get cozy. Death on the Nile is a very cozy film, by which I mean you might fall asleep. It’s very slow paced.
And I say that as a good thing. Death on the Nile feels exactly how you’d expect an Agatha Christie movie adaptation to feel. Slow, deliberate, like a film that could have come out in the 70s. The cast is great. Tom Bateman is back as Bouc, Hercule’s best friend and kind of an idiot and Annette Benning plays Bouc’s mom Euphemia. It’s also the first time in a long time I enjoyed the presence of Russell Brand, which is truly an accomplishment in itself. Linnet (Gal Gadot) and Simon (Armie Hammer) are the happy newlyweds dealing with the creepy stalker Jackie (Emma Mackey) who really pulls of that crazy murderous ex-girlfriend routine quite well. I can’t say there are any bad apples in this big cast of characters.
It’s a bunch of rich people dealing with rich people shit before someone gets shot in the face and killed. After that Hercule goes all Sherlock Holmes to figure out who the killer is, and every time he gets close the murderer is just a few steps ahead. Until he figures it out that is. Up until then you get to see his cool, stoic face gently stroke his mustache and say “hm, yes. I am very stoic and calm in this trying time.” I’m paraphrasing.
Now some people will tell you that Death on the Nile isn’t as good as Murder on the Orient Express. Those people are 100% correct. It does stand well on its own however, with new characters and a very different plot that goes in its own direction. I might actually watch it a second time.