Mystery in Venice is the best Poirot (review)

Mystery in Venice is the best Poirot (review)

Kenneth Branagh and his guests have a lot of fun in the new Poirot murder party. The theme of the evening: giallo.

Who would have bet that Kenneth Branagh would have reinvented himself as a filmmaker thanks to a franchise? In this case, and you guessed it, we are not talking about the first Thor (although the film is aging quite well for an MCU, but that’s another subject), but about the Hercule Poirot films based on Agatha Chrtistie . After The crime of the Orient Express too programmatic to convince, Branagh succeeded in making Death on the Nile a joyful one murder party on a green background, where a galaxy of guest stars were killing each other behind closed doors. But the biggest surprise was when Death on the Nile made Poirot a real tragic figure in a conclusion of surprising darkness and emotion. There you go, Branagh had a character, and therefore an idea for a cinema. It’s there that Mystery in Venice begin. It is 1947, and Poirot, traumatized by the last world war, retires to Venice, protected by an ex-cop who has become his bodyguard. A friend, author of best-selling detective novels, will draw him out of his refuge by asking him to attend a spiritualist session in a dilapidated palazzo on Halloween night, and, my goodness, you probably know what that means? Behind closed doors, stars, drama. We know the song, and we follow it with pleasure.

John Paul Kelly: “In Mystery in Venice, the building is a real character”

But there, the green funds of Death on the Nile give way to a real setting: that of a ghostly palace that Branagh shoots from all angles – the most twisted possible – without resorting to frills like a digital camera. Mystery in Venice thus looks more like a tribute to horror cinema, to giallos from yesteryear than the Poirots seventies with Peter Ustinov. For example, the composer Hildur Guðnadóttir (Joker) replaces the faithful Patrick Doyle, and Poirot’s investigation is carried out to the sounds of twisted strings rather than classical orchestration – and speaking of classics, Branagh seems to have preferred to revisit Don’t turn around by Nick Roeg that Death in Venice while preparing your film: Mystery in Venice explores the traumas of its characters, all broken to varying degrees and stuck in the walls of their nightmares. Yes, the cast has a lot of fun, but the score is very dark – which makes it the best of the three films, by far.

Mystery in Veniceby and with Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Yeoh, Camille Cottin… Released September 13.

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