A HAUNTING IN VENICE – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Famous detective Hercule Poirot is a haunted man, even when not in a haunted house. A Haunting in Venice, director and star Kenneth Branagh’s third outing as Agatha Christie’s brilliant and persnickety detective, is his most satisfying turn yet. Full of Gothic touches that enhance the mysterious mood, the film also is rich in theme: that we all live with ghosts, to paraphrase one character, whether real or not. A Haunting in Venice is briskly entertaining Agatha Christie comfort food with a larger theme about the secrets we carry. Should Branagh and company continue putting Poirot on the case, here’s hoping they also dip into Christie’s more obscure catalogue to offer audiences more surprises.

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A HAUNTING IN VENICE – Review by Susan Granger

Released on September 15, Dame Agatha Christie’s 133rd birthday, Kenneth Branagh’s A Haunting in Venice is adapted from her novel Halloween Party. In post-World War II Venice, ostensibly retired Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh) is urged to attend a séance by mystery writer Ariadne Oliver (Tina Fey), who has used him as a character in her crime-riddled novels. Taking considerable liberties with Agatha Christie’s original 1969 whodunit, screenwriter Michael Green and actor/director Branagh have transplanted the murder mystery to picturesque Venice, where gothic ghosts seemingly waft among the rain-shrouded canals.

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A HAUNTING IN VENICE – Review by Maitland McDonagh

Hercule Poirot is attuned to the finer points of human psychology, allowing Agatha Christie room to explore emotions alongside clues and Kenneth Branagh’s A Haunting in Venice is just as invested in the way its characters feel as in what they do. Branagh never lets Poirot’s quirks take precedence over the fact that he’s a character with real depth, a man whose dedication to uncovering the truth is rooted in a past darkened by tragedy and dislocation. For all his mannered affect, injustice and cruelty offend Poirot’s sense of the way things ought to be but all-too often aren’t, and that any victory over life’s fundamental unfairness is worth the fight. When everything has been unraveled and explained, that’s a solid and satisfying takeaway.

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SEE HOW THEY RUN – Review by Martha K Baker

Some movies are just for fun. They do not educate or elucidate or elevate. They entertain. See How They Run does just that. The title refers to a nursery rhyme about mice, and that, in turn, refers to a play called The Mousetrap. The Mousetrap happens to be the world’s longest running play, having opened in 1952 for more than 28,000 performances.

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DEATH ON THE NILE – Review by Susan Granger

Working with screenwriter Michael Green, actor/director Branagh condenses so much that he never fully explores the subtle nuances of his rich cast of characters in what seems like a foregone conclusion to the whodunit, particularly when compared with screenwriter Anthony Shaffer’s 1978 version in which Peter Ustinov, Bette Davis and Maggie Smith exchanged barbs.

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DEATH ON THE NILE – Review by Martha K Baker

Kenneth Branagh does Agatha Christie. Again. After a Pandemic Pause, Death on the Nile returns, a follow-up to Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express. Again, Branagh is behind the camera, directing. When he’s in front of the camera, he’s behind a mustache that looks like a pergola covered in wisteria. Death on the Nile is good for a little nap midway before everyone gathers for Poirot’s little grey cells to expose the murderer. Maybe it’s time for another story — say, a continuation of the World War chapter, or more about the singer, or with Russell Brand as the ex-fiancé. There’s no mystery left in Death on the Nile, and that affects the film.

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DEATH ON THE NILE – Review by Sarah Knight Adamson

If you viewed Kenneth Branagh’s 2017 film, Murder on the Orient Express, you’ll have a good idea of the premise of Death on the Nile. The mystery thriller is based on the 1937 Agatha Christie novel, with Branagh returning as director and star. Branagh is on a roll with his ever-popular film Belfast and his follow-up film Death on the Nile, does not disappoint.

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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS — Review by Martha K. Baker

Seeing the magnificent cast list may draw you in. Enjoying a classic mystery, even when you know who dun it, may draw you in. But after watching “Murder on the Orient Express,” you may feel discounted, for the Kenneth Branagh production has all the oomph of an airless whoopee cushion. But ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ gives new depth to ‘meh!’

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