Death On The Nile (2022)
Sometimes you're just in the right mood for something like this. Having just got back from a rather dour and uneventful short film festival, full to the brim of self-indulgent indie arthouse efforts with no budget, to be presented with this a couple of days before the Disney+ release on the 30th, I had to say I was, if not thrilled, at least confidently relieved.
This new visit to the much-loved Agatha Christie murder mystery is everything that struggling independent film-makers are not. This is hugely rich, monied to the point distastefulness, bursting at the seams with recognisable and experienced talent, jobs for hundreds instead of maybe as few as one. This comes with high expectations, whereas maybe the lowly indie short, does not.
I did have trouble believing Russell Brand pretending to be anything other than he usually pretends to be in his every day life. The stretch to imagine he was a medical Doctor, with sensible hair and everything, was just too much to be permissible. The inclusion of French and Saunders was something of a curiosity, neither being too well known for anything other than accomplished comedy that this never is, even if it tries.
There is an almost perceptible chasm between the actors and most everyone else here. Stand out performances from the likes of Branagh, Mackey and Bening, for example, have the authoritative stamp of thespian surety running through them, whereas everyone else on the boat is just treading water and hoping not to drown. Some cope better than others.
The scenes are undeniably sumptuous and bristling with abundance everywhere you look. I was wistfully reminded of previous trips to Egypt with Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, Harrison Ford. Even Roger Moore. No expense has been spared to make the experience look less than authentic and the cinematography was everything you expect a multi-multimillion dollar project would provide.
In all, an effort that underwhelms for a number of reasons, which is so unfortunate as I really wanted to love being taken back to the wonder of Hercule Poirot again, even after the recent Orient Express also failed to deliver as fully as we might have liked.