It’s hard to believe that I have been waiting on “Death on the Nile” for almost four and a half years. With the amazing job that Kenneth Branagh did on “Murder on the Orient Express” combined with my fandom of whodunit type stories and Agatha Christie’s work, I couldn’t have been more excited for our press screening this past week. Not even the annual Dallas winter storm would keep this from happening, and this one did not disappoint.
After the events of the tragic train incident that changed lives forever, Hercule Poirot (Branagh, who again directs) looks to take a holiday in Egypt. However, he winds up taking a case (as tends to happen to him wherever he goes) accompanying newlyweds Linnet Ridgeway (Gal Gadot) and Simon Doyle (Armie Hammer) as they try to evade Simon’s former flame and Linnet’s former friend Jacqueline de Bellefort (Emma Mackey) after their wedding by taking their wedding party on a cruise down the famous river. When murder most foul (and Bellefort) set of a series of events that throws each and every person on the boat into suspicion, it’s once again up to Poirot to get to the bottom of it all… at any price.
You wanna know how good this film is? RUSSELL BRAND turns in a serious performance here that made me take notice. The guy that spent an entire MTV Movie Awards yelling “Twilight… Hunger Games…” absolutely crushes it here as the doctor on board and ex lover to Linnet. Oh yeah, and there are other names here like Letitia Wright, Sophie Okonedo, Tom Bateman, Annette Bening, Rose Leslie, Jennifer Saunders, and Dawn French to round out another Branagh ensemble cast that is nothing short of riveting.
There are some in this “give it to me now and give it to me quickly” world that will have issue with the slow and suspenseful burn that this film carries with it, but for those that understand Christie’s works, this is what her stories do. Knowing that going in, I was completely OK with being on the edge of my seat as the story unfolded. There are also some that may say something about the green-screening that had to be done for reshoots, but honestly I was so engaged in the script and the performances that it didn’t get to me at all (outside of one sweeping scene passing the boat, but I kind of expected what I saw there).
It's unfair to say that “Death on the Nile” is the best movie I have seen in 2022 because it’s the only film I have seen so far, so it wins by default. However, it will be hard for me to think this film will not at least be in my Top Ten by the time this year is over. There WILL be some heavy hitters this year, but do not let this one pass by without a viewing in any way, shape or form.