Death on the Nile cannot stay afloat

Death on the Nile just does not make the cut.


Death on the Nile is a film of mystery and intrigue, bad acting, and even worse writing. Kenneth Branagh’s second Hercule Poirot mystery finds Poirot (Branagh) in Egypt, where both the death and suspect count rises.

The movie begins with a young Poirot in the trenches in World War 1, where he demonstrates his wit and deductive skill. The background was enjoyable, but a part of Poirot is that the story is never about him, it is about the mystery at hand.

Flash forward to 1937, and Poirot is seeing Sophie Okonedo’s Salome Otterbourne perform and first encountered Otterbourne’s niece and manager. As he sits enjoying his flawless desserts, he sees Armie Hammer’s Simon Doyle and Emma Mackey’s Jacqueline de Bellefort enjoying a very intense dance. But after encountering Bellefort’s friend, Linnet Ridgeway (Gal Gadot), he finds immediate interest in her. After a moment of incredible use of cinematography to introduce Ridgeway as wealthy and beautiful, Poirot ends up at Ridgeway and Doyle’s honeymoon on the Nile.

After a too long introduction, Poirot meets Tom Bateman’s Bouc, who reprises his role from Murder on the Orient Express, and his mother, Euphemia, played by Annette Bening. Also on the boat are Ridgeway’s cousin and lawyer Andrew Katchadourian (Ali Fazal), her former fiance, Ludwig Windlesham (Russell Brand), her maid Louise Bourget (Rose Leslie), and her godmother Marie Van Schuyler (Jennifer Saunders) and her traveling nurse Mrs. Bowers (Dawn French). The Otterbournes are also on board the boat, as they are performing for the happy couple.

To add a twist, de Bellefort makes several appearances as she stalks Ridgeway and Doyle. Emma Mackey easily had the best acting throughout the movie. The craziness she brings to the character she brings in perfect amounts, and she finds the perfect balance between crazy and desperate.

None of the other actors come close to achieving this, Gadot and Hammer have very poor chemistry, which is only enhanced by Hammer’s overacting. There is really no better way to describe Gadot’s performance as cringey, which the unfortunate writing only makes worse.

As if it was just to emphasize the acting and writing, the scenery and CGI used was also sub-par. There were some shots that went into the Nile river, and those images looked even worse than Gadot and Hammer’s chemistry.

Overall, the movie can really be classified as fine. The murder was interesting and fun to solve, but the build up to the murder was much too long. The characters were interesting and had potential, but the acting and writing did not allow them to live up to that potential. Death on the Nile had the capacity to be a great movie, but that ship sank.