“The romance of the desert has the power to seduce,” we hear in the first Death on the Nile trailer. Thus director Kenneth Branagh continues his loving obsession with mystery writer Agatha Christie, gathering as much star power as his 2017 adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express. The opening shot lingers on the sun-drenched pyramids and entombed pharaohs with fetishistic delight. Gal Gadot and Armie Hammer also do a slow burn into the camera lens. These are killer shots, and the Death of the Nile release date, Oct. 23, brings a welcome relief but still leaves questions.
The 20th Century Studios mystery was filmed in England and Egypt just prior to the coronavirus pandemic, and the release will be in the early phases of theaters reopening around the world. Working from a screenplay by Michael Green, who also adapted Murder on the Orient Express, will Branagh be able to reconstruct the magic of his first Christie project? With an all-star cast that included Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, and Derek Jacobi, his first trip aboard a Christie vehicle was made for $55 million and pulled in $352 million.
Besides being behind the camera, Branagh is back as Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and once again, he is on a slow ride against the clock, this time through perilous waters. Not only does he have to traverse murderous decks, he must also circumnavigate a lethal love triangle while vacationing onboard the Karnak. The ensemble cast includes Gadot, Hammer, Black Panther’s Letitia Wright, Russell Brand, Annette Bening, Emma Mackey (Sex Education), and Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones). Obviously a film that includes Wonder Woman ensnared in a murder mystery with Shuri and Ygritte is of instant intrigue for certain set of moviegoer.
“Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot’s Egyptian vacation aboard a glamorous river steamer turns into a terrifying search for a murderer when a picture-perfect couple’s idyllic honeymoon is tragically cut short,” reads the official synopsis. “Set against an epic landscape of sweeping desert vistas and the majestic Giza pyramids, this tale of unbridled passion and incapacitating jealousy features a cosmopolitan group of impeccably dressed travelers, and enough wicked twists and turns to leave audiences guessing until the final, shocking denouement.”
Christie’s 1937 novel was also adapted for John Guillermin’s 1978 film, Death on the Nile. Adapted by Anthony Shaffer, its all-star cast included Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury, David Niven, and Maggie Smith. Peter Ustinov starred as detective Hercule Poirot, a character who appears in 33 Christie novels and over 50 short stories.Death on the Nile’s release date is Oct. 23, 2020.