A dull entry in the Poirot saga
Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) is back on the case in an adaptation of a lesser-known Agatha Christie murder mystery, A Haunting in Venice. Poirot is now retired and living out his days in Venice, declining the advances of the many potential clients who request his services. One of these clients slips through the net in the form of crime writer Ariadne Oliver (Tina Fey), who is known to Poirot. She wants his assistance in debunking the work of psychic Mrs. Reynolds (Michelle Yeoh), who is due to conduct a seance for grieving opera star Rowena Drake (Kelly Reilly).
This third entry in Kenneth Branagh’s iteration of Poirot feels very different on the surface but ultimately offers more of the same in every way possible. There are some interesting shots and a gothic vibe to proceedings, but the set-up is ultimately in keeping with traditions. The setting of Venice is a treat on the eye, it’s just a shame that most of the movie takes place in the dull interior of the near-derelict palazzo where the seance is taking place.
Another gripe with the movie is how long it takes to get going. With a run time of 1 hour 43 minutes, the expectation is that the murder that essentially sets the wheels in motion will take place relatively soon. However, it drags out until the audience inevitably starts looking at their watches.
The big reveal of the killer is too convoluted, and as good as Poirot is as a detective, it’s hard to believe he figured all of it out in such a short space of time with no clear leads set up throughout the film. There are some good performances in the supporting cast, namely Jamie Dornan as an ex-soldier with PTSD and Michelle Yeoh, who shows us why she’s now an Academy Award winner, making the best of having very little to do. There is no word on whether Poirot will return in any future instalments, but here’s hoping he stays retired this time.
Read More: A Haunting in Venice Ending Explained
Verdict - 5/10