Death On The Nile

In Movie Reviews, Uncategorized on June 28, 2010 at 2:55 am

A star-studded cast unites for this adaptation of Agatha Christie’s mystery novel of the same name. A rich but reviled heiress is murdered on a cruise down the Nile. Luckily, brilliant detective Hercule Poirot (Peter Ustinov) is on board, and takes on the case. Can he find the culprit before they reach port, possibly losing him or her forever? Maggie Smith, David Niven, Bette Davis and Mia Farrow co-star in this Oscar winner for Best Costume Design

Just look at that cast! Seriously, this film has one of the best casts I can remember seeing in a movie (with the possible exception of The Great Escape). This is a who’s who of movie royalty. And every one of them is perfectly suited for the role they play.

This film has all the parts of an outstanding mystery. Stellar cast, exotic location, jealousy, cheating, and ever so clever humor. But for some reason, this movie struggles to put all those pieces into place.

The slow moving plot (a staple of most Agatha Christie stories) at times feels disjointed. There are whole segments in the story that you seem to ask yourself “where is this going” or “what does this have to do with anything?”. There are vague references to wills and lawsuits, but they are never explained, and the viewer never really knows why anyone wants to the heiress dead.

But the biggest failing of the movie is the ending. Unlike “Murder On The Orient Express” (the Christie movie made prior to this one), the solution to the mystery is completely unsatisfying and bordering on absurd. The ending in Orient was at least a little believable and plausible. This one just gets more and more ridiculous as it is explained (once again in typical Christie fashion) by a long monologue by Poirot. The final scene, which I am guessing is supposed to be shocking and dramatic, borders on comical.

But, even for all its failings, this movie still gets a recommendation from me simply because of the cast. It is a pleasure watching these legends at work, and it makes me yearn for the day when actors had talent, and were not completely CGIed out like in today’s world.

3.5 out of 5 stars


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