Death On The Couch

A review of the newest Agatha Christie movie adaptation

by Ingrid Lid, Associate Editor

In the latest remake of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery “Death on the Nile,” Detective Monsieur Hercule Poirot and his infamous mustache have nothing on my short attention span. Two hours half-filled with slow-motion cry scenes and I’m starting to miss David Suchet and his little penguin-looking self from the 2004 remake more than ever. Before I say anything else, why’d they change his mustache? The audacity. Is he one of the greatest detectives in the world or the namesake of the world’s worst fried chicken?

I understand most of you probably didn’t grow up watching your mom’s favorite murder mystery shows, so let me break it down for you and spoiler alert from this point on. The classic story of “Death on the Nile” by Agatha Christie follows the infamous Linnette Ridgeway who has fortune as great as her fame and always gets her way, but one thing keeps her humble: her long-lasting friendship with our antagonist, Jacqueline De Bellefort. Jacqueline is in love with Simon Doyle and here’s where it gets complicated. Jacqueline and Simon are to be engaged and have plans to honeymoon on the Nile and while a honeymoon does indeed happen, Jacqueline is not there. In her absence is the now Mrs. Linnette Doyle. Long story short, Linette is shot and killed in her sleep and Hercule has to crack the case. As simple as it sounds, this movie really took it’s time to showcase this.

But the l do have to say there were some really meaningful changes addressing the racism in Agatha Christie’s book and they cast some amazing and crazy talented actors of color including Sophie Okonedo, Letitia Wright, and the gorgeous Ali Fazal who weren’t just bellboys who got kicked around and made to play dumb while hearing 5 million gunshots around them. Even still there is a long way to go from here.

The producers did create more space for inclusivity compared to the previous remakes, especially with that older lesbian couple between this stern older woman and her “nurse” who I thought were pretty charming even though they were just kind of slapped in the middle there. Other than that, not much to the actual plot has been changed, all but except paint was used to color the scarfs Simon used when pretending he was shot instead of the original red nail polish. If you weren’t already asleep, this would have been completely obvious because Euphemia, one of the side characters invited to the party, had spoiled that that very red paint, her red paint, just happened to go missing by blatantly saying just that, so it was clear it was going to be used somehow.

Now at risk of sounding like an elderly old prude myself, here I am thinking I’m in the wrong theater because apparently I’m watching an extremely sexual drama full of untangling love triangles with a couple of silly little murders going on in the background instead of a remake of the classic murder mystery I walked into.

I wanted the suspense, the mystery, and most of all I wanted Poirot’s big speech at the end when he makes sense of all the hidden details, that weren’t so hidden in this movie, and then the audience gets taken aback because they’re surprised about who did it. Although I did get that speech, I do feel that most of the mystery was, again, glaringly obvious which just made the big speech at the end predictable and redundant.

It’d be easy to say this could’ve been because I’ve seen this before, but not even halfway through, and my friend who had never seen any of the Death on the Nile movies asked me if it was the husband. To be fair, it was supposed to be obvious enough you second guess yourself, and while being meant for that, man, was that played out.

I did think it was cool that they showed more of Hercule Poirot’s backstory and why he is the way he is when it comes to love and death. Despite it all, there are some pretty insightful connections between love, death, and evil. Overall I think we should just let the “Death on the Nile” franchise finally lay to rest.