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Andy Wilson
David Suchet, Emily Blunt, James Fox
Kevin Elyot

A wealthy American heiress honeymooning on a Nile cruise ship is stalked by a former friend.
Rated TV-14.

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 102 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 9/29/2020

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Death On the Nile [Blu-Ray] (2004)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 11, 2021)

In 1989, a British TV series called Poirot launched. Based on the works of Agatha Christie, it cast David Suchet as the lead, famed detective Hercule Poirot.

Though the show only accumulated 70 episodes, it spanned a whopping 24 years, as it didnít conclude until 2013. From Season Nine, we get a 2004 feature-length episode called Death On the Nile

As Poirot vacations in Egypt, he meets British heiress Linnet Ridgeway (Emily Blunt). There on her honeymoon, Linnet asks Poirot to help her deal with Jacqueline De Bellefort (Emma Malin), a former friend turned stalker.

Linnetís new husband Simon Doyle (JJ Field) used to date Jacqueline. She believes Linnet stole Simon from her, and she craves revenge.

Poirot declines to deal with this spat, and all four end up on the same cruise along the Nile River. When a murder occurs, Poirot must get to the bottom of it and determine if the issues related to Linnetís situation impacted the crime.

Unquestionably Acorn put out this 2004 Nile on Blu-ray in fall 2020 to capitalize on the publicity connected to a big-screen version of the Agatha Christie story. The latter acted as a sequel to 2017ís Murder On the Orient Express and planned to hit theaters early October 2020, only a couple weeks after this discís release.

Alas, the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the theatrical run of the new Nile, so this 2004 version couldnít capitalize on the natural promotional value. In terms of viewing, that might end up as a positive, since we can more easily separate the two versions.

Iíll have to wait until fall 2021 to rate the new big-screen Nile - hopefully. So many movies have gotten so many delays that I take nothing for granted.

Until then, this 2004 edition offers a good alternative, and it sets the bar reasonably high for the new cinematic adaptation. While not the most thrilling murder mystery Iíve seen, the 2004 Nile becomes an enjoyable tale.

Donít expect the titular slaying to occur too quickly, though, as nearly half of Nile passes before the murder takes place. This doesnít create as much impatience as one might expect, though, for the film uses that time to explore its characters.

And Nile gets into the various roles nicely. It develops them in a compelling way and sets up each one as a potential suspect, just like a story such as this should.

Once the crime takes place, the story kicks into a higher gear and becomes a lively romp. We careen from one possible killer to another with gleeful abandon, and the surprises come at us in a dynamic manner.

A good cast helps, and itís intriguing to see a very young Blunt. One of her first roles, Bluntís American accent doesnít work, but I suspect thatís at least partially intentional, as this not-convincing American vocal pattern fits the slightly campy attitude on display.

Truthfully, Iím reluctant to refer to Nile as campy, for that implies a more comedic and silly impression than what we get. Perhaps ďarchĒ becomes a better term, as the film doesnít take itself tremendously seriously, but it also doesnít turn into a goofy romp either.

However one wants to describe it, Nile presents a quality murder mystery. We find a well-executed and brisk drama here.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B-/ Bonus D-

Death On the Nile appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a mostly appealing presentation.

Overall definition worked fine, though it felt like the image underwent some tinkering. I saw light edge haloes at times, and those gave the movie a slightly oversharpened impression.

This didnít become a prominent issue, though, as the film usually seemed well-rendered. I saw no moirť effects or jagged edges, and print flaws remained absent.

Apparently shot on Super 16 stock, mild grain appeared throughout the film, probably less than I would expect. As such, I suspect a bit of noise reduction occurred, though not anything egregious. While low-light shots could seem a smidgen scrubbed, this didnít turn into a problematic situation.

Colors opted for a heavy orientation toward amber tones with a slant in the direction of reds. The hues felt nicely reproduced within their stylistic limitations.

Blacks were fairly deep and dark, and shadows seemed acceptable. As noted, low-light elements could feel a little iffy, but they usually worked fine. The same went for the film overall, as it seemed more than watchable.

I thought the filmís DTS-HD MA 2.0 soundtrack was competent but not memorable. This didnít surprise me, though, as a character-based mystery such as Nile wouldnít offer a lot of room for sonic fireworks.

General environmental information dominated and created a decent sense of place. Music also used the spectrum in a positive manner, as we got good stereo spread.

Audio quality was appropriate. Music seemed full and rich, while effects came across as accurate and appropriately dynamic. Speech appeared concise and natural, and all of this added up to a satisfactory soundtrack for a TV drama from 2004.

The disc opens with ads for Miss Fisherís Murder Mysteries and Foyleís War. No extras appear here otherwise.

A bright, lively take on Agatha Christie, Death On the Nile works well. It gives us a solid character-based mystery that keeps us absorbed from start to finish. The Blu-ray brings generally positive picture and audio but it lacks bonus materials. This turns into a fun ride.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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