Published on September 9th, 2023 | by gareth0
A Haunting In Venice Is Vintage Agatha Christie Lovingly Brought To The Screen By Kenneth Branagh
Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) is back in the latest film adaptation based on the work of Agatha Christie. Based on her 1969 Hallowe’en Party novel; the location has moved from England to Venice and finds Poirot living a life of seclusion in Venice following World War II. He has even hired security to keep people away from him including those desperate to hire the legendary detective.
When a friend from his past named Ariadne Oliver (Tina Fey), entices Poirot to attend a séance later that evening. The fact that her last three books have not been met kindly and that Poirot and his work were an inspiration for her leads Poirot to reluctantly attend but only to discredit the supernatural as he believes that ghosts and related mysticism are nothing but a falsehood.
The party takes place in a locale owned by a famous singer who has been on hard times ever since her daughter died from a reported suicide and that combined with the mysterious past and rumors of hauntings has made it impossible for her to sell the house.
The arrival of the mystic named Mrs. Reynolds (Michelle Yeoh) seems to delight the guests until Poirot uncovers that she is working with a hidden assistant who he claims is all the proof he needs to invalidate her. Things take a bizarre turn soon after and a terrible storm arrives leaving the guests stranded as there is no way to safely navigate the canals to safety.
As if things were not bad enough; an attack on Poirot followed by a murder sets the famed sleuth back into his old methods and soon the guests find themselves locked into the house as Poirot looks to solve the mystery but as he does so the dangers mount as he races to solve the mystery and keep the guests safe even though he knows there is a killer amongst them.
The film paces itself well as we are given time to catch up with this version of Poirot and see how he desires to leave it all behind in post-war Europe. His reluctance to be called back into action is clear but when he sees the threat is real he is determined to solve the case. In between we are given time to meet the characters in the story and realize that they are not always who they appear to be and that motive is often a big part of the mystery which will keep audiences guessing.
The film moves at a solid pace and Branagh and the cast are at the top of their game. The supernatural aspects to the film were a nice touch and it will keep you guessing as I had not read this story before and found the twists clever.
Branagh also directed the film and seems to really be enjoying this adventure as the cast works well with one another and the gorgeous shots of the city balance well with the storm-sieged and foreboding home in which the story is set.
If you are a fan of mysteries and Agatha Christie then this is a mystery for you.
4 stars out of 5