Film Review: Death on the Nile


Hannah Gebert

Death on the Nile is a refreshing, cultured movie. The movie, based on a line of Agatha Christie novels featuring Hercule Poroit was adapted by Michael Green, who is experienced in film writing. Other people working on this project have an equal amount of experience. The star actors include, Kenneth Branagh (Hercule Poirot, and director), Gal Gadot (Linnet Ridgeway Doyle), and Armie Hammer (Simmon Doyle). Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot has a previous movie mystery, Death on the Orient Express, which is the most well known of the Agatha Christie novels, and is similar in filmography. 


The opening of the movie is a black and white battlefield, where we are introduced to the character of Hercule Poirot. The black and white is a perfect touch for a long forgotten battlefield like the one Poirot is found on. Later, Hercule is found in the infirmary by his fiance, introducing us to an unknown side of Poirot — one that has experienced vulnerable emotions and understands them, which is quintessential to the character development we see throughout the movie. 


Coming into swift color, the next scene features a couple, who seem in love. The couple, Joanna Southwood and Simmon Doyle, are met by Joanna’s close, wealthy friend Linnet Ridgeway. Joanna suggests that Linnet and Simmon have a dance, and it seems that their love sparks instantly, to Joanna’s  dismay. Linnet and Simmon marry, but Joanna doesn’t miss a moment of their relationship, crashing their plans whenever she can. In fear of Joanna, Linnet urges Simmon to postpone their honeymoon, and in response, Simmon books them a honeymoon on the Nile. Many close friends and family members embark on a journey into a secluded death. 


Half of the movie is just set up for the death of Linnet. I could argue that this gives time for the viewer to think about the possible perpretrator, but the traditional sequence of letting the reader or viewer decide that while the murder investigation is on going still fits better. Having the viewer raise their suspicions before a single body has dropped takes from the suspense and calculation that makes mysteries fun. 


A central theme of Death on the Nile is love, which is cliche, and and it fits well with the mystery genre when used right. Love also helps differentiate Hercule from Sherlock. Sherlock was cold, even though he had tangles with seductive women, he didn’t seem too interested. However, Hercule, though he also strays from love, shows genuine examples of romantic interest and has a deep understanding for love. The acting was superb, the characters in a mystery are meant to have glaring traits and Agatha Christie really played around with the traits.. The great acting brought out not only the emotion and drama a mystery needs but it helped the more artistic film choices feel natural, every action scene every obscure camera angle. 


I would recommend  Death on the Nile to almost anyone. I confess it is not a blockbuster, but it will hold the attention of most audiences. The movie is very romantic, and I think that is its best quality, if you are looking for a romantic mystery.