Death on the Nile: Why Wasn’t it as Fascinating as it Looks?

by Katherine Zhu ’25

Source: Daily Trojan

Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile is the second adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic 1937 novel. Taking place on a cruise ship in Egypt, it’s filled with glamor, drama, and of course, murder.

The film follows the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot as he investigates the mystery of a wealthy heiress. It stars Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, and Armie Hammer.

Death on the Nile stays true to the original book. Annette Benning and Tom Bateman are added as a mother and son duo, but they don’t disrupt the actual plot.

This film also adds more diversity to a previously all-white cast. For example, the Otterbournes were white in the book, but in the film, they’re African-American blues musicians, played by Sophie Okonedo and Letitia Wright.

The 1978 film cut out most of the subplots from the original novel due to the immense number of characters in the story. However, the 2022 film added more than they cut. Not only did most of the characters get little screen time, but it’s hard for the audience to keep track of all the suspects.

The pacing is scattered. It’s strangely slow in the beginning and the amount of buildup is unnecessary. The first murder only happens when the film is already halfway over. It’s inconsistent, considering the sheer amount of action that is packed into the second half. 

Overall, Death on the Nile had its strengths and flaws. It wasn’t a box office success, but you can still find ways to enjoy the movie.

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