Death on the Nile captures the attention of moviegoers


Death of the Nile Movie poster features Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Kenneth Branagh, Emma Mackey, etc.

Madison Curtis, Staff Writer

Death on the Nile is like a game of Clue brought to life. Released on Feb. 11, the 2-hour-long film captures audiences in an alluring murder mystery. Based on British writer Agatha Christie’s novel that was published in 1937, Kenneth Branagh- director of Thor and experienced actor- recreates the story of a wealthy, influential couple’s terrifying honeymoon aboard a paddle steamboat touring Egypt. The film stars famous actors and actresses such as Gal Gadot, who is most commonly known for playing Wonder Woman, and Armie Hammer, who is known for his role in The Social Network and a variety of other movies. The film leaves watchers captivated by breathtaking views and conflicted by the constant twists and turns of the plot.

Linnet Ridgeway Doyle (Gal Gadot) and Simon Doyle (Armie Hammer) are a newlywed couple that originated from different social classes but were brought together by Ridgeway’s close friend and Doyle’s ex-fiancé Jacqueline de Bellefort (Emma Mackey). As they embark on their extravagant honeymoon with close family and friends in 1930s Egypt, a murder sparks a full-fledged homicide investigation conducted by Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh). While interviewing the passengers present on the steamboat during the time of the murder, secrets are revealed in a thrilling mystery.

Even though the film showcases realistic views of Egypt, the production took place in England. According to Variety, filming was originally supposed to happen in Egypt but proved to be too complicated. In an attempt to capture a similar setting, Morocco was considered. However, by the time production began in 2019, no progress was made. Nevertheless, the production designer Jim Clay stated to a Variety interviewer that the views of historical Egyptian sites and architecture were “created with a big talented team of construction people and our director of photography and visual effects supervisors” at Longcross Studios in Surrey, U.K. The Egyptian Pyramids were recreated as a set. The first few levels were built, and the top was left to be replicated by the visual effects supervisor George Murphy. Additionally, the steamboat known as the S.S. Karnak was built but not fit for practical use in water. To make it appear that the boat was sailing along the Nile, railroad tracks were used to move it back and forth to show motion. A majority of the settings and props used during the entirety of the film were based on references from that time period.

Furthermore, the unexpected plot twists leave viewers questioning their initial suspicions from the very beginning. At the start of the film, viewers know that one of the main characters will face inevitable death, but it is not revealed until about halfway through the plot who dies. After the murder, more questions are sparked as the investigation is carried out. One by one, the passengers of the steamer are pressured into revealing secrets and ulterior motives. As death consumes the atmosphere, chaos ensues and events become increasingly hectic. It is not until the film comes to a close that all the secrets are uncovered, and the story comes together to create an unexpected yet clever ending.

However, Death on the Nile is not unique. The murder of an undeserving victim that leaves a group of suspects under suspicion until everything is uncovered by the seemingly genius detective is nothing new. There have been numerous movies with similar themes such as Murder Mystery (starring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler) and Knives Out (starring Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, etc.). The film can be categorized as a stereotypical murder mystery and nothing more. The creators failed to set it apart from other movies like it.

Overall, the film has certain aspects that are cinematically well done, but it lacks a unique plotline. Astounding visual effects and sets that display realism that is hard to capture under the circumstances of film production carry the whole movie. Considering the recurring theme, the film has a hard time standing out to audiences. The attention to small details and the appearances of famous actors and actresses help increase appeal to moviegoers. I recommend Death on the Nile to anyone looking to question their instincts over and over again just to be proved wrong in the end.