Death on the Nile REVIEW: Kenneth Branagh's second Poirot movie finally released

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But, these days, three years is a long time for a film with a large ensemble cast and, almost inevitably, one of its stars has been cancelled. Armie Hammer, ditched by his agents last year over sexual assault allegations, has such a key role that chucking him overboard was never an option.

Still, if you can handle a final helping of Hammer time, you may find this a welcome dose of sun-dappled escapism.

Actor-director Branagh, recently Oscar-nominated for Belfast, begins by clearing up an unsolved mystery. What possessed Poirot to fashion that ridiculous moustache?

 Then, after a thrilling sequence set in the trenches of the First World War, we’re back to Agatha Christie’s clever but (to ITV3 viewers) almost fatally familiar whodunnit. An heiress (Gal Gadot) is honeymooning up the Nile with her dashing new husband (Hammer) when an unseen murderer starts working his or her way through the boat’s manifest.

Luckily, “the world’s greatest detective” (Branagh) is on board with an assortment of suspects, played by a not-quite-Alist cast that includes Sophie Okonedo, Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Rose Leslie, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.

The theme here is the danger of love. It doesn’t just power the plot but also haunts Poirot who is given a heart-rending back story. But mostly this film is about glamorous costumes and eye-popping scenery. 

Perhaps Disney knew what they were doing all along. In a month of spiralling bills and looming tax hikes, they’ve given us a ticket back to the lost world of 1930s’ luxury travel.



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