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20TH CENTURY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Kenneth Branagh
Cast:
Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer
Writing Credits:
Michael Green

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

Box Office:
Budget:
$90 million.
Opening Weekend:
$12,891,123 on 3280 Screens.
Domestic Gross:
$45,630,104.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Audio 2.0
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish

Runtime: 127 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 4/5/2022

Bonus:
• “Novel to Film” Featurette
• “Travel Can Be Murder” Featurette
• “Design On the Nile” Featurette
• “Branagh/Poirot” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Trailer


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RELATED REVIEWS


Death on the Nile [Blu-Ray] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 10, 2022)

Back in 2017, Kenneth Branagh’s first take on Agatha Christie’s super-detective Hercule Poirot hit screens. Murder on the Orient Express took in $352 million worldwide, which meant it turned a nice profit on a $55 million budget.

Originally intended to see release in late 2019, production issues pushed back the second Branagh-directed/starring Poirot, Death on the Nile. Then COVID hit and that meant more delays for Nile, so it didn’t make it to screens until February 2022.

Perhaps due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic, or maybe due to general audience disinterest, Nile performed substantially less well than its predecessor, as it made only $137 million worldwide. Given its $90 million budget, this doesn’t bode well for future Poirot flicks.

I hope the powers that be give Branagh another shot. While not a great mystery film, Nile works pretty well and fares better than the semi-limp Express.

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

Linnet’s new husband Simon Doyle (Armie Hammer) used to be engaged to Jacqueline. She believes Linnet stole Simon from her, and she craves revenge.

Poirot declines to deal with this spat, but 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 Linnet’s situation impacted the crime.

As implied above, I wasn't wild about the 2017 Express. Branagh stripped any "fun" out of the tale and made it too dour and dark.

Nile offers a better balance. It's not quite a giddy romp, but Branagh allows a lighter tone and creates a better-paced tale.

My only experience with the story came from a fall 2020 viewing of the 2004 adaptation. Branagh's differs from it in a number of ways, especially due to a prologue that shows Poirot during World War I.

As far as I know, this was invented for this movie and doesn't come from Christie. This adds a few character twists I won't reveal to avoid spoilers.

The movie also alters some of the other characters and pares down the total number of passengers/suspects. This makes it more focused.

All of this works fine, I think - at least for this version. Branagh manages enough drama and intrigue while we wait for the titular demise to occur, and the movie proceeds at a pretty good rate.

I find it hard to claim anything about Branagh's Nile dazzles, but I also can't think of much to criticize here. The movie creates an enjoyable mystery that does enough right to become a satisfying exploration of the material.

Footnote: I can’t be the only one who finds Mackey much sexier than Gadot, can I? Of course, Gadot offers a very attractive presence, but Mackey comes with a va-va-voom she lacks.


The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

Death on the Nile appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, this was an appealing transfer.

Sharpness looked strong. If any softness appeared, it remained negligible, so the image gave us a tight, well-defined presentation.

Jagged edges and moiré effects remained absent, while edge haloes also failed to appear. Print flaws stayed absent as well.

Because much of the film took place in the Egyptian setting, Nile opted for an amber/orange tone as well as some teal. These tones seemed predictable, but they worked fine within the movie’s design parameters and showed good delineation.

Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows showed nice clarity and smoothness. I thought this was a consistently well-done image.

I also felt pleased with the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack. Though it concentrated mainly on environmental information, the mix used the channels in a reasonably involving manner throughout much of the film.

Not that anything here dazzled, as most of the soundfield stayed with ambience and music. Still, the track opened up the settings well enough, and a few livelier shots – like WWI combat at the movie’s start or some violent events – created a nice sense of impact.

Audio quality always satisfied. Music was dynamic and full, and effects followed suit, so those components came across as accurate and well-developed.

Speech seemed distinctive and crisp, without edginess or other issues. This became an appropriate soundtrack for the story.

A few featurettes appear, and Novel to Film runs 15 minutes, 30 seconds. It provides notes from novelist Sophie Hannah, director/actor Kenneth Branagh, screenwriter Michael Green, executive producers James Prichard and Mathew Prichard, Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks author Dr. John Curran, and actor Tom Bateman.

“Film” examines the source and its adaptation as well as story/characters. We get a smattering of insights but not a lot of depth here.

Travel Can Be Murder spans five minutes, 53 seconds with info from Branagh, Curran, Hannah, Mathew Prichard, James Prichard, and actor Annette Bening.

“Travel” looks at the work/legacy of Agatha Christie, with some specifics related to Nile. Like “Film”, we find a decent but unexceptional program.

Next comes Design on the Nile, an 11-minute, one-second program that features Branagh, Green, James Prichard, Bening, Bateman, production designer Jim Clay, hair/makeup designer Wakana Yoshihara, costume designer Paco Delgado, director of photography Haris Zambarloukos, and actors Gal Gadot, Russell Brand, Dawn French, Rose Leslie, Letitia Wright, Jennifer Saunders, Sophie Okonedo, and Emma Mackey.

“Design” covers sets and locations, costumes, photography and other stylistic choices. This offers another mix of facts and fluff.

Branagh/Poirot goes for five minutes, 35 seconds and provides comments from Branagh, Gadot, Brand, Bateman, Okonedo, Green, Leslie, Bening, French, Wright, Mackey, Saunders, and producer Judy Hofflund.

We learn about Branagh as both actor and director. Plenty of praise results.

In addition to the film’s trailer, the set concludes with eight Deleted Scenes. These occupy a total of 10 minutes, 45 seconds.

One scene allows for more development of the Poirot/Salome relationship, and it offers probably the most useful of the bunch, though we also get a little more of that pair elsewhere. Most simply bring us brief expansions and they lack much to add to the characters or narrative beyond a little exposition/depth.

While not one of the all-time great murder mystery movies, Death on the Nile provides a satisfying affair. It comes with enough verve and panache to become a lively little tale. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals along with pretty good audio and a small set of bonus materials. Expect a fun thriller.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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