“While on vacation on the Nile, Hercule Poirot must investigate the murder of a young heiress.”

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writers: Michael Green, Agatha Christie
Staring: Tom Bateman, Annette Benning, Kenneth Branagh, Russell Brand, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer
Release Date: March 18, 2022

Going to enter the honest tree right now. I am here to tell you that I did not think that Death On The Nile (2022) would be good. The trailers didn’t look great, the delays dampened excitement and I did not want want to fill the champagne in the Nile.

I am here to report, The Death On The Nile is not as dead on arrival as I thought it would be.

Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) is trying to enjoy a vacation in Egypt (of all places) when he finds himself in the midst of a murdering spree. He is thrown into a kerfuffle by when old friend Bouc (Tom Batemen) is flying a kite on the pyramids. Seriously, that is true.

Poirot meets a pair of newly weds, the wealthy Linnet Ridgeway (Gal Gadot) and the lucky grinder Simon Doyle (Armie Hammer). The couple fell in love hard and fast, for just six weeks ago Simon was engaged to Jacqueline de Bellefort (Emma Mackey). Needless to say, she is not in a happy place.

There are various people people in Egypt with Linnet and Simon. To name just a few, we have former lovers of Linnet, over protective mothers, entertainers hired for the honeymoon, and other helping hands. It should be mentioned that Jacqueline de Bellefort shows up to create all sorts of mess. She acts like Demi going into Bachelor in Paradise.

Poirot finds himself on a very lovely boat, but the soft wide wood panels are soon coated with tension and blood. Characters begin dropping (faster than I expected) and Poirot finds himself in a time crunch to solve the murders before anyone else gets harmed. While he goes through interrogating each of the boat guests and as he inquires, webs of lies, distrust and betrayal are illuminated.

It is a who-dun-it. You know what it is.

Spoiler alert from here on out.

That is all the warning you are getting.

Nobody who sees Death On The Nile is upset that Linnet Ridgeway Doyle dies first. That means we don’t need to see Gal Gadot anymore. She is not good in this movie, and her bad performances streak is still on going. There is a cartoonish sort of quality to the movie, but the acting by Gadot is reminiscent of bad soap operas.

Everyone saw that clip above on commercials leading up to the movie’s release. It was part of the reason I had such bad vibes heading into the movie. I am here to tell you that the champagne toss heard round the world is not the only cringe worthy scene. Her acting across from Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Peroit and trying to emote convincingly is just turn away. I mean this also as a compliment for Branagh, because he knows how to emote with his character and is a damn good actor!

Branagh is good, but he is not the best in Death On The Nile.

Emma Mackey is BY FAR the standout performer. Hands down, eyes up, one-hundred percent guarantee that you will look up Mackey’s IMDB after watching this movie.

Mackey has the best role in Death On The Nile. She gets to play Jacqueline de Bellefort, the hated sexy women who has a empathetic reason for her vendetta against the the murder victim. Putting it more plainly, Mackey gets the play the part of a beautiful bitch. She gets multiple slow-motion zoom-ins and a ton of dramatic, face-to-face confrontations. She hast the chance to be the devil on the shoulder of the audience, and she whispers all the right things in your ear.

Death On The Nile has a lot of recognizable faces. Russell Brand makes an appearance, and I had no idea that Annette Bening was in the movie until the credits started rolling. There is Armie Hammer…who is now a weird deal. Some my recognize Letitia Wright from Black Panther (2018).

Overall, the ensemble performance is pretty good, and it is better than Branagh’s Agatha Christie predecessor, Murder On The Orient Express (2017). I think Death On The Nile is a step above because it doesn’t have the immense amount of fame attached to characters. Guess what, the only superstar in Death On The Nile is Gal Gadot, and she is by far the worst part.

While the acting is good, for the most part, the film editing is strange and everything that does not take place on the boat looks like garbage. Yea, I said what I said. I remember when I reacted to the trailer that there was going to be a lot of colors thrown at your face. That is true, but every time they have the brown sand on screen, it looks bad. Every scene that takes place off of the boat is on a lower tier. The pace struggles and the stress of everyone’s relationship is to spread out over the landscape. Where Death On The Nile thrives is in its final hour, when everything is contained to the boat and within Hercule Peroit’s mind.

The runway getting to the good stuff within the movie is nearly as rocky as Death To The Nile‘s path to the box office. This movie was set to be released in 2019 at first….but then that was pushed to 2020 due to filming delays. COVID arrived and now the release date was pushed back again to 2021. Just when the worst was getting to open up again…Armie Hammer has some nasty accusations come this way so finally it landed in February of 2022.

I want to know what actors and press people have to be thinking when doing a press tour for a movie that they filmed three years ago. It has to be a mind fuck.

Despite the delays, the Gal Gadot curse and the rather timid expectations heading in, Death On The Nile is a watchable who-dun-it that has Branagh trying his hardest, Mackey stealing the spotlight, and enough twists to keep your brain interested. It is worth a quick watch on HBO Max.

You know what, make Death On The Nile a low-key date night movie. You’ll be content, satisfied, and never need to talk about it again.

STANKO RATING: B- (3.5/5 Stars)


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