We take a look at what is being said about Kenneth Branagh’s latest outing as famous detective Hercule Poirot.
The Guardian: ** “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 Independent: *** “A Haunting in Venice largely does away with the overstuffed, CGI bombast of Branagh’s earlier Poirot tales. John Paul Kelly’s production design and Sammy Sheldon’s costumes are immaculate. There are fewer A-listers in the cast (it does feature a reunion of Belfast stars Jamie Dornan and Jude Hill), and the performances lean occasionally into heightened dinner theatre, with lines delivered out and towards the audience. Yeoh is the exception and, unexpectedly, the contrast works – she’s the centre of every scene she’s in, that unplaceable quality of movie star charisma here given a paranormal sheen. Branagh’s Poirot continues to be a welcome presence: a slightly romanticised depiction of the detective, who’s self-aware enough, with his accent and his double-decker moustache, not to feel too pompous.”
The Telegraph: ** “Kenneth Branagh returns as Poirot, but, rather than jazz things up, the film’s many Danny-Boyle-esque stylings are a constant distraction.”
Variety: “Branagh, once again pulling double duty as the film’s star and director, anchors this (possibly) supernatural digression from the shoe-leather sleuthing of earlier Hercule Poirot stories with appropriate theatricality, while playful turns from a shrewdly selected supporting cast elevate the case from just another murder mystery to suitably arch gothic horror.”
IGN.com: “A Haunting in Venice is a delightfully bizarre, raucously entertaining sequel. It plays like a standalone remake of some low-budget TV special that never was, while also building on the intimate mythology Branagh has built for his version of the extravagantly mustachioed detective, in a very good film that often threatens to be great, and outshines both of its predecessors.”
Entertainment Weekly: “The slight shift in tone and genre, leaning into the supernatural elements of the storytelling, does wonders for Branagh’s take on Poirot, elevating the movie beyond the solid, if somewhat bland entertainment of the first two films. Additionally, while Branagh tackled two of Christie’s most famous works in his initial efforts, Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, the lesser-known 1969 novel Hallowe’en Party serves as the source material this time, with screenwriter Michael Green diverging even further from the original story. The result is something altogether more inventive, surprising, and engaging.”
Hollywood Reporter: “Now A Haunting in Venice sets a definite pattern of diminishing returns. The new film is much pokier in its pacing, with duller characters. Despite some highlights, including Branagh in top form as an even more somber than usual Poirot, the film is watchable but it is also something lethal to a mystery: uninvolving.”
Deadline: “From the start, the mystery unfolds at a steady pace. While there’s a heightened sense of anticipation, the plot is somewhat predictable. This, however, does not take away from the experience but plot events aren’t as exciting as the film wants them to be. However, in terms of tone, A Haunting in Venice finds a maturity that its predecessors perhaps lacked. There’s a balanced seriousness that anchors the narrative with a subtle blend of elements that are well executed. One feature of Branagh’s direction in this installment is his peculiar choice of framing characters off-center. This unusual style could be interpreted in many ways: perhaps as a reflection of the misaligned motives of the characters or simply a different approach to classic storytelling. “
Digital Spy: “Whodunnit fans, rejoice! A Haunting in Venice is the best outing from Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot saga to date — an ingenious, twisty and surprisingly scary murder mystery.”
Evening Standard: ” The new venture is consistently gorgeous to look at, toys in a smart way with our desire for rational explanations and allows Tina Fey to strut her stuff (which is significant because the SNL genius behind Mean Girls and 30 Rock has often floundered on the big screen). Just don’t compare it to 70s chillers like Don’t Look Now or Death in Venice, because it’s not remotely haunting.”
A Haunting in Venice is released in cinemas on the 15th September.