News/Entertainment/A Haunting in Venice review round-up: Agatha Christie meets haunted house in a ‘dazzling’ but 'wasted' adaptation

While some international reviews call A Haunting in Venice Kenneth Branagh's best Hercule Poirot film, others claim it wastes the talented ensemble.

Ankur Shukla| 2023-09-15 22:11:17

Kenneth Branagh's third outing as Agatha Christie's detective Hercule Poirot hits theatres today on September 15. A Haunting in Venice is the follow-up to Murder on the Orient Express (2017) and last year's Death on the Nile. International reviews have called the latest instalment visually sumptuous, but also one that squanders its talented ensemble cast. (Also Read: Charlie Chopra: Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak and sons come together for gripping murder mystery. Watch)

A sound Agatha Christie adaptation

The Wrap states in its review, “Unlike the first two Poirot movies Branagh did that adapted Christie’s texts, “A Haunting in Venice” is less an adaptation of the novel ‘Hallowe’en Party’ — considered one of Christie’s lesser works — and more inspired by it.”

Los Angeles Times echoed the same stance, “Gorgeously shot on location by cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos, A Haunting in Venice is easily the best of Branagh’s three big-screen Christie adaptations, largely because it is also the most flagrantly unfaithful." Empire adds, “This new tactic of rewriting obscure Christie novels with wild abandon shows real promise.”

Visually stunning

The New York Times review says, “What’s consistent is the elegant visuals — striking cinematography by Haris Zambarloukos — which mark this movie’s real genre as lavish old-fashioned Hollywood entertainment.”

The Guardian compares A Haunting in Venice to Death on the Nile and states that this film “does at least look better than its predecessor, which used cheesy digital effects and back-projections to suggest Egypt and the Nile.”

But alas!

The Guardian review claims the film wastes its exceptional cast. It reads, “With each new Branagh/Poirot movie I have sat down for some guilty-pleasure fun, and he always brings to the part a basic level of sprightly energy. But each time I have been disappointed by the trudging inertia that sets in – and here by the false-ending, fake-reveal moments which the movie just breezes through, and also by the criminal waste of the supporting cast.”

The NYT review says the film may disappoint horror buffs. “It’s a bit gloomy as a mystery, but perfunctory as horror. Too talky, for one thing. Branagh, who dabbled in gothic terror early in his career when he made Frankenstein, has more of a feel for actorly grand guignol than the pace of cinematic-scare sequences,” the review states.

A Haunting in Venice is directed by Kenneth Branagh, who plays the lead role in the supernatural mystery film. Produced by 20th Century Studios, the ensemble cast includes Tina Fey, Michelle Yeoh, and Jamie Dornan.

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