For the past six years, actor and director Kenneth Branagh has been trying to breathe new cinematic life into old Agatha Christie stories. However, he failed miserably in his first two attempts. Murder on the Orient Express And Death on the Nile, presents stories that were never so mysterious. However, he came back for a third try with it Haunting in Venice.
It is very loosely based on Christie’s book Halloween partyThe film revolves around Hercule Poirot (Branagh), who lives in happy retirement in Venice, Italy. An old friend, mystery novelist Ariadne Oliver (Tina Fey), convinces him to attend a Halloween party where host Rowena Drake (Kelly Reilly) is scheduled to hold a séance led by Mrs. Reynolds (Michelle Yeoh) to communicate. With Drake’s daughter who died by suicide.
Oliver hopes to expose Poirot Reynolds as a fake, but a series of frightening incidents followed by the death of a party attender puts Poirot back in full detective mode. Poirot and Oliver regularly interview the surviving members of the group while trying not to be spooked by a variety of creepy things happening around the house.
By collaborating once again with screenwriter Michael Green (who had written the previous two films), Branagh finally came up with the formula needed to make an effective Christie adaptation. But strangely enough, it involved eliminating 90 percent of Christie’s original story. While the names of some characters remain the same, almost the entire setting and plot have been changed from the 1969 book, freeing the filmmakers to not have to stay faithful to anything Christie wrote.
This seems to be a good thing, as the film has a strong, unsettling tone, even if the real mystery still eludes Branagh. The story takes place in a severe thunderstorm, which, combined with the events inside the house, creates a sense of constant impending doom. Since it’s set on Halloween, the film also offers some jump scares. Branagh tries a bit in this aspect, but it still helps with the overall feel of the film.
The film takes place mostly in one location, but Branagh and cinematographer Harris Zambarloukos up the claustrophobia factor by liberally using close-ups. There’s also a great deal of humour, aided greatly by the presence of Fey, who knows how to deliver a cutting line. The eventual solution to the central mystery leaves a little to be desired, but since almost everyone is a suspect, it’s hard for anything to come as a shock.
Branagh plays Poirot with aplomb for the third time; Even if you question his accent, he still knows how to capture the audience’s attention. Fey and Yeoh are welcome additions, as is Riccardo Scarmarcio who plays Poirot’s bodyguard. Branagh rewarded two of him Belfast The actors, Jamie Dornan and Judd Hill, have parts, with Hill again overshadowing some of the adults.
Although this is not enough to say that Branagh should continue to make adjustments to Christie, Haunting in Venice It’s a huge improvement over the last two films. With strong acting and a story that doesn’t strictly follow a predetermined outcome, it’s a surprisingly enjoyable experience.
Haunting in Venice Opens in theaters September 15.
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