Film Reviews

“Aesthetic Value Goes Some Way To Make Up For Deviations From The Original” – Film Review: Death On The Nile

Hannah Walton-Hughes

After nearly two years of postponement due to the pandemic, the new re-make of Agatha Christie’s famous novel, ‘Death on the Nile’, graced cinemas on Friday 11th February 2022. The film is littered with stunning scenery and an all-star cast. Agatha Christie fan, Hannah Walton-Hughes comments on the latest adaptation. 

Having already experienced Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of the famous Hercule Poirot, in the 2017 adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, I walked into the cinema with the knowledge that, whilst his take on the little Belgium detective was very accomplished, nothing could beat David Suchet’s portrayal in the famous TV series Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Nevertheless, Branagh does bring a level of modernization, emotional depth and personal history and romance to Poirot, that was not present before. 

The film follows the story of the gorgeous actress Linnett Doyle (played by Gal Gadot), and her new lovestruck husband, Simon Doyle. Added to this seemingly perfect marriage is Jacqueline de Belfort, the fiancée of Simon, whom he abandoned in order to marry Linnet. This fateful love triangle sets the scene for the tragic events that unfold when Jacqueline follows Simon and Linnett on board the S.S. Karnak ship, as they sail down the Nile on their honeymoon. 

there is no question that the haunting setting of Christie’s novel is fully explored 

One of the most impressive aspects of the film is the scenery. Whilst the film could probably have been successfully cut down from over two hours to an hour and a half, had the camera not lingered so long on a single Egyptian pyramid, there is no question that the haunting setting of Christie’s novel is fully explored. The bright white honeymoon ship, the menacing pyramids and the vast landscapes both provide viewers with aesthetic value, whilst also adding to the enormity of everything that is happening within the story. 

In terms of the cast, there are many well-known gems. Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders create humorous and likeable characters in Marie Van Shuyler and her ‘maid’ Mrs. Bowers. This takes their old TV show French and Saunders to a whole other level! Rose Leslie makes the character of Linnet’s maid both mysterious and sympathetic, and of course, Tom Bateman’s performance of Poirot’s charismatic friend, Bouc, leaves nothing to be desired. 

and as for the final scene, I frankly disapprove

A key criticism that I have of this film is its slight deviation from Christie’s original novel. One of the victims is different to the book, and as for the final scene, I frankly disapprove. I won’t give information away, but Poirot basically loses one of the characteristics that has defined him since Christie first put pen to paper. I personally don’t feel that this film had the right to take that away, no matter how good the intention.  

The movie is littered with highly expressive and sexualised dancing, accompanied by foot-tapping jazz music. This succeeds in emphasising the steamy attractions and jealousies between both the main trio and the supporting characters, in a way that is certainly not present in the older Christie adaptations. The lavish costumes stay true to older adaptations however; particularly in the case of the women’s dresses, they drip wealth and power. The shift in gender dynamic is apparent in this film, with Jaqueline, Linnet, and Rosalie Otterbourne presented as women who know their own minds. Nevertheless, I do not feel that the extent of Jacqueline’s strength is fully conveyed by the film, disappointedly. 

Overall, Death on the Nile is definitely a film worth watching. The aesthetic value of the filming in a way makes up for the deviations from the original storyline. As ever with Christie stories, the plot is engaging, shocking, and full of twists and turns that you do not see coming. Prepare yourself for quite a few jump-scares and unexpected gun shots!

Hannah Walton-Hughes 

Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.

In-article image courtesy of @deathonthenile via No changes were made to this image.

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