Death on the Nile – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Death on the Nile – A River Runs Red: Love & Murder

To speak of murder is to speak of intrigue.  The nature of the word brings about a sleuth of emotions, trailing to the ultimate question … who done it?  In the journey to finding the truth, what is tragic can become a tale of tales.  In this review, I look at the latest film from Kenneth Branagh.  An adaption of one of Agatha Christie’s famed murder/mysteries, it is a journey of obvious clues and interesting revelations.  Even with heavy handholding of setups, Death on the Nile is a serviceable tale that honors the age-old question … who is the killer?

On vacation, the famed detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) is swept into another mysterious death case.  With nothing but a river and desert, he must find the killer before they strike again.  The foundation of this film is built around the basic concepts of the murder/mystery genre.  You begin with the initial introduction to the lead detective (Hercule Poirot).  Once the audience avatar comes into purview, the rest of the first half consist of fleshing out the setup for the murder.  Through a mixture of ominous observation and expositional conversation, we meet Linnet Ridgeway (Gal Gadot), a rich heiress in England.  At a London nightclub, she she meets Simon Doyle (Armie Hammer).  This initial meeting leads down a linear directive of marriage, setting change (Egypt) and additional character introductions (refer to the IMdb page).  After more expositional conversations, we have a conflict of interest (plot device) that moves the setting onto a Nile boat trip (Key incident).  Once all the pieces are in play, we have our eventual murder.  Like any murder/mystery, there is always a slow build of characterization.  Even with the generalization of story and relationships, what becomes intriguing is the human fallacy of situations.  As Poirot tries to piece together the events leading up to the murder, the fervor of the questioning levels within the obvious details.  Watching the logical aspect come into view, what becomes prudent is the journey ahead.  As things seem to be pointing in one direction, there is enough red herrings that begs the question of what is true.

As the investigation continues, the hysteria of moments lifts the genre tropes to another level of causality.  All that comes to light is a personal reflection fraught with anger, hardship and guilt.  Each revelation levels out the perception of the usual suspects, but also lifts those tropes above its predictable motifs.  The thematic appeal of ‘who done it’ is the raw strength of the tale, showcasing a realistic course of vendetta.  This leads into a finale that becomes a twisting of fate, leading to a climax that provide answers within the atonement of human fragility.  Death on the Nile is a film that plays it safe with exposition/setups but is genuinely entertaining.  If you are a fan of murder/mysteries or these series of novels, this is one for you.  Even if not a fan, I think this can be a fun time at the theaters, for the right price.

Full Score – 3 out of 5 (Theater Discount)

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