In Theaters

The second of Kenneth Branagh’s adaptations to Agatha Christie’s classic books, the incomparable Detective Hercule Poirot finds himself part of a group of invited guests celebrating the marriage of a young heiress.
As in the previous film, “Murder on the Orient Express,” viewers are once again put in a claustrophobic situation. This time, murder has occurred on a river steamer where all the passengers have a connection with the beguiling yet distrustful heiress, Linnet Ridgeway-Doyle (Gal Gadot). We have Linnet’s jilted best friend Jackie (Emma Mackey), who is not pleased that the heiress has stolen her lover and married him, a sleazy lawyer (Ali Fazal), a put-upon assistant (Rose Leslie), and a handful of other worthy suspects.
Before we go on the boat, we get an opening flashback that humanizes the eccentric Poirot and gives us an explanation for that iconic mustache. We are also taken to a boisterous jazz club and the Egyptian desert. From the battlefield to exotic locales, everything in this film is larger than life, colorful and detailed. You don’t even really need a storyline to enjoy the costumes, ephemera of the 1930’s and the lavish backdrops.
For Branagh to legitimatize updating these films, he had to have a solid first outing. “Murder on the Orient Express” exceeded expectations and gave a strong storyline with a heart. It is hard to deliver that a second time. Yet, even if “Death on the Nile” does not quite live up to its predecessor, it is a solid, engaging mystery. Enjoy it for what it is: a big screen, popcorn-munching, enjoyable time. Go with the flow and simply try to figure out whodunit.
PG-13 for violence and sexual material