Hercule Poirot and the Nile?

I went to the movies tonight (first time in forever thanks to covid) to see the latest version of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. I’m not wanting to talk about the movie overall (very enjoyable, although Hercule isn’t quite…right – a bit like Bond wearing a tails and asking for a gin and tonic). Rather, I want to talk about the opening.

Now, you have to understand I love Agatha Christie and grew up reading her books. I have nearly all of them on a shelf in my bookcase. Death on the Nile is one of the more famous stories (although not my favourite) so no surprise it was chosen as the second iteration for Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot. I haven’t seen his Murder on the Orient Express yet (although I plan on watching it soon).

The thing about this movie is that when it started, I watched the first couple of minutes becoming more and more convinced I was in the wrong cinema. Unfortunately, the opening went for a lot more than those first few minutes (and I did get to a point where I realised I wasn’t in the wrong cinema).

What the movie started with was backstory. Hercule Poirot’s backstory to be precise. It was an information dump of the long variety. And just like in a book where an author starting with backstory is a no no, so is starting with backstory in a movie. This opening could have been cut and the movie would have been no less for it. In fact, it would have been all the better for it. After all, if a huge Agatha Christie fan thought she was in the wrong cinema, you know there’s a problem!

Have you seen the movie yet? What did you think of the beginning? Have you come across backstory dump’s in either a book or movie that really shouldn’t have been there?

10 comments on “Hercule Poirot and the Nile?

  1. I must say, the movie trailer (‘trailer of the movie’ in Poirot speak) is confusing. The series (and the TV shows with Suchet) are all about Poirot. The trailer took almost the entire length to show him. And where is my humorous little guy? Sigh. I’ll watch the movie, but I’m not excited.

    • I am a huge Suchet fan. He really made the Poirot in my head come to life, so anyone else would really have to step it up to even come close. The trouble is, they haven’t been true to Agatha Christie’s Poirot, and that’s where I struggle.

  2. I haven’t seen this one yet, but I did see Murder On The Orient Express, on Prime.

    I have to agree with you, Kenneth Branagh is just not Poirot. Too tall, for starters. He is a fine actor, but physically not right for the part.

    To be honest, while I am a huge Suchet fan, and he was the definitive Poirot in general, I prefer the Albert Finley version of this story.

    • I have seen the Albert Finley version, although a long time ago. I vaguely think I enjoyed it, but I can’t really offer a legitimate opinion. I will have to watch Orient Express, but they’ve tweaked this story (and characters) a little bit much for me to love it as an Agatha Christie movie. I could enjoy it at face value, but I really am such a fan of the original books I’m a bit too much of a purest now I think.

  3. Uh oh. Never a fan of the info dump. I have seen the Orient Express movie. I think I read the book way back, but I didn’t recall it until we got towards the ending. I don’t recall an info dump in that one, but it’s been a while since I saw it (on TV, so I wouldn’t have worried I was watching the wrong film).

    • Orient Express is streaming here, so I’ll watch it before it disappears. At least I won’t have to worry about knowing I was in the right cinema, lol. It did make me want to reread, so I will have to go back to my Agatha’s again. I haven’t read Poirot in a good decade so it should be fun 🙂 (most recently I’ve reread Tommy and Tuppence).

  4. I am a big fan of info dumps, in small pieces dispersed throughout, like pepper in the gravy.

    What I have seen of the movie didn’t fit anything I treasure of Death on the Nile. It looks like Michael Bay doing Shakespeare.

    • Haha, so true, BF!

      If you watch it and pretend it isn’t Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, but another fella with the same name, it’s a much easier watch 😉

  5. Hmmm, I grew up on Agatha Christie books also, and I was looking forward to this movie. Now I’m not so sure!

    • Did you see Murder on the Orient Express? I haven’t seen it so can’t tell you how similar they are in terms of being true to form. I will report back once I have watched it (probably this weekend as we have a long one).

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