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20th Century Pictures’ A Haunting in Venice sees Kenneth Branagh deliver his best portrayal of Hercule Poirot.
While Kenneth Branagh‘s first two films as the legendary Hercule Poirot, Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, were fairly faithful to the source material this third movie is such a huge departure from the Agatha Christie novel, Hallowe’en Party, that it could be almost considered a brand new story.
A Haunting in Venice is such a huge departure from the original story by Agatha Christie (Hallowe’en Party) that the studios gave it a brand new title. And thanks to the fact that this movie is an extremely loose adaptation of the original source material, it seems to have given Kenneth Branagh the license and encouragement to make this his best portrayal of famed Hercule Poirot to date.
While many faithful Poirot and Agatha Christie fans will probably be as concerned and apprehensive as I was at the idea of seeing this movie adaptation, I would argue that if you were to put from your mind that this story featured characters by the name of Ariadne Oliver, Rowena Drake, and Joyce Reynolds, you would not even put two and two together and deduce that this was based on Hallowe’en Party. So if you, like me, are able to put aside the memory of David Suchet, Zoë Wanamaker, and Deborah Findlay in the Mark Gatiss penned t.v. movie, you might actually be able to thoroughly enjoy this spook-tacular murder mystery.
4 Reasons to Give A Haunting in Venice a Try
Michelle Yeoh and Kelly Reilly Are Mesmerizing in A Haunting in Venice
If you have not yet discovered the talent in the incredible Michelle Yeoh and Kelly Reilly you need to check out Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Crazy Rich Asians, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Flight, Eden Lake, and Yellowstone (TV).
While Michelle Yeoh’s Joyce Reynolds is a featured role, she makes the most of her limited screen time and gives the movie’s most riveting performance, hands down.
Meanwhile, Kelly Reilly is a force to be reckoned with in the leading role of Rowena Drake. The character’s motives and backstory are dramatically changed, as are all the characters’ stories, but Kelly does a remarkable job sinking her teeth into the fleshly parts of the character drawing the audience in slowly and steadily.
Fun trivia – Kelly Reilly co-starred as Mary Gerrard in Sad Cypress, a David Suchet helmed t.v. movie, in 2003.
Haris Zambarloukos is a Genius Cinematographer
Regular Kenneth Branagh collaborator, Haris Zambarloukos, was once again chosen to step behind the camera as cinematographer for A Haunting in Venice. They had previously worked together on Thor, Belfast, Cinderella, and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. And what a job he does!
Using a heady number of techniques such as fish-eye lenses, tilted frames, extreme darkness, shadows reminiscent of black and white cinematography, and severe high and low angles, Zambarloukos transforms the primary setting of a Palazzo in Venice into a wacky haunted house that is thrust inside an even more disturbing world as seen through Hercule Poirot’s state of mind.
A Haunting in Venice is perfect Halloween fare to watch in the cinemas mainly thanks to Haris Zambarloukos’ genius cinematography. Dare I hope there might be a nomination coming his way during awards season?
Jude Hill and Jamie Dornan are Back Together!
Last but certainly not least, if you are a fan of Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast and fell a bit in love with the father and son relationship between Buddy and Pa, you’ll love to see the two actors reunited in A Haunting in Venice. Jude Hill continues to grow as a natural actor catching the attention of the camera and audience every time he is visible in a frame. And while Jamie Dornan’s character development is not my favorite (a fault of the writing team), the chemistry between Jude and Jamie is spot-on.
There is no denying the chemistry between Jude Hill and Jamie Dornan and Kenneth Branagh is no fool – they are box office gold. Here’s to hoping that the three of them will be working again soon in the near future.
A Haunting in Venice is Kenneth Branagh’s Best Poirot to Date
As mentioned earlier, Kenneth Branagh does a terrific job breathing new life into both the role of Belgium detective Hercule Poirot in this third incarnation thanks mainly I believe to the liberal amount of creative license he was given due to the loose adaptation to the source material.
Overall, A Haunting in Venice is a very fun and clever Halloween movie that everyone should be able to enjoy. B+.
More TV and Movies to Watch
- 5 of the Best Episodes of Poirot on Britbox
- Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (TV To Watch)
- 5 Famous TV Detectives to Binge-Watch
- Endeavour Series Finale: Everything You Need to Know (S9)
- 21 Classics and Favorite Movie Adaptations
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