Death on the Nile should sink without a trace for butchering Agatha Christie's classic with wooden acting and bad CGI

Death on the Nile

(12A) 127mins                


THERE has been much mystery over the big screen release date of Agatha Christie’s famous story.

Originally set for December 2020, why has Death on the Nile been pushed back so long?

Let’s gather the evidence.

The leading man, Armie Hammer, was accused by former partners of sexual abuse. He denies these, but has since spent nine months in rehab for ‘drug, alcohol and sex issues.’

The leading woman, Gal Gadot, faced backlash after her outspoken views on the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Kuwait has now banned the release of the film entirely due to Gadot’s comments.

And, of course, there was the serial killer Covid that shut cinemas.

The perpetrator isn’t completely clear, but there is one thing that is: Death on the Nile has been butchered by this adaptation.

After his turn as Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express in 2017, Sir Kenneth Branagh reprises his role as the world famous detective from Belgium.

The pernickety Poirot is given a Hollywood backstory of lost love during the war in 1914. Branagh plays the young soldier with the help of some distracting special effects on his face.

Fast-forward to 1937 London, and Poirot witnesses loved-up couple Simon Doyle (Hammer) and Jacqueline de Bellefort (Emma Mackey) on the dance floor in a jazz club.

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In walks Jacqueline’s best friend, the extraordinarily wealthy Linnet Ridgeway. She is encouraged to dance with Simon, who she has only just met.

Within weeks Linnet and Simon are married and inviting a bizarre assortment of guests – including French and Saunders, a mostly-mute Russell Brand, Rose Leslie, Annette Benning and Poirot–on their honeymoon: a cruise down the Nile.

But the newlyweds fear for their lives, as deranged-with-jealousy Jacqueline is following them.

The painfully long introduction of all the characters makes you thirsty for a murder – or a sudden iceberg on the Nile – just for a break from the ridiculous dialogue, terrible CGI and wooden acting.

Branagh’s performance is all over the place, going from a sweet, delicate Poirot who wells up with tears when hearing about heartbreak, to screaming like a drill sergeant.

Let’s hope this crime sinks without a trace.

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