Death on the Nile movie review

Graphic courtesy of Impawards

Graphic courtesy of Impawards

Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) is a mysterious detective throughout the film. His attention to small details — like how different bullet types correspond to different guns — is evident at the movie’s beginning for the audience to awe at. Later in the film, this becomes clear when a young heiress gets killed by a gunshot to her head: he immediately notices that the gun was notched against her head due to the scorch marks produced on the heiress’ head. He walks near where the murder happened, interviewing anyone and everyone in sight; he asks questions, hoping to have one of the interviewee’s slip up and give an important clue in solving the murder case. Now, he couples his knowledge from the interviews and of obscure details — like how blood and pastel red change into different colors when dumped in the Nile — to solve the case.

The film ultimately had two plots: one on Hercule’s life and another on the unsolved murder case. For the latter, the movie got it mostly right. The suspense is well-timed, like where an air of tension was built up between characters, only to have someone murdered in the next few seconds. Additionally, the plot does not move too quickly, with every event having enough time devoted to appreciate the current situation. For example, when Hercule goes on his rant about who killed the heiress, and how he knows, the audience can attempt to keep track of his reasoning on the murder case. Though, for all its greatness, the main area where it fails, ironically, is capturing a concise but entertaining answer for the who-done-it by Hercule; some of the explanations by Hercule are convoluted, and the film brushes past them. While the pacing and the music made these who-done-it explanations fun, the responses by Hercule were just too complex at times for the audience to appreciate the moment. 

Under the guise of being a mystery movie, it interestingly includes poignant scenes and themes about Hercule fighting against love and his past scars. This is illustrated in the first scene as Hercule transforms from a soldier fighting for the Belgian army in World War I to the most recognizable detective in the world, after a heart-breaking experience in his youth. Due to this, Hercule has given up any notion of loving ever again and has ultimately surrendered to the fact that he will be a detective and will retire alone in a cottage. Interestingly, after the murder is solved and everyone goes back home to England, the ending foreshadows a possible romantic relationship with one of the characters.

All-in-all, the movie does a great job of portraying the suspense and heartbreak of most murder novels. It is indeed a must-watch for all of those looking for Friday night entertainment, or for those who want to sharpen their detective skills and learn from the best. In short, this movie is terrific for those who like murder mysteries and especially for those who enjoyed Agatha Christie’s novel.