The new mystery film Death on the Nile, based on the 1937 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie, premiered in theaters this month with a star-studded cast. The film is directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also stars in the film, from a screenplay by Michael Green and stars Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders, and Letitia Wright. The film was produced by Branagh, Ridley Scott, Judy Hofflund, and Kevin J. Walsh and is a sequel to Murder on the Orient Express (2017). Death on The Nile centers on Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) on an Egyptian cruise that includes a wealthy couple on a honeymoon. But the detective’s vacation soon turns into an investigation as they search for a murderer aboard the cruise. The Film Magazine published a review of the film saying, “Death on the Nile is, despite this, just as Christie would have wanted it to be; an escape. It doesn’t get caught up in too much beyond the location, the characters, and the fun of playing detective. It gets up on stage, entertains the hell out of you for two hours, and leaves again.” If you enjoyed watching Death on the Nile and you’re into the old-fashioned whodunit or solving mysteries here are five of our movie recommendations.
Murder on the Orient Express
If you haven’t watched the first movie adaptation of Agatha Christie’s series, Murder on the Orient Express, it’s a must you see it too. Murder on the Orient Express was released in 2017 and also directed by Kenneth Branagh, with a screenplay by Michael Green. The film features an A-list cast of Tom Bateman, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley, with Branagh portraying Hercule Poirot. The film follows world-renowned detective Poirot, as he investigates a murder on the luxurious Orient Express train service in the 1930s. The Guardian wrote a review of the film and described how the new adaptation takes a slightly different route from the original. “This Murder on the Orient Express gives the story a slightly more modern perspective; some of the races are changed and the era’s attitudes challenged…”
The film Knives Out is a 2019 American mystery film written and directed by Rian Johnson and produced by Johnson and Ram Bergman. It offers more humor compared to other murder mysteries like Death on the Nile and also showcases a star-studded cast that includes Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, and Christopher Plummer. The film follows detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) who is enlisted to investigate the death of crime novelist Harlan Thrombey, played by Plummer. Each member of his wealthy and dysfunctional family is a suspect and detective Le Blanc tries to uncover the truth with the help of Thrombey’s nurse (de Armas). Knives Out has received several accolades including three nominations in the Musical or Comedy category at the 77th Golden Globe Awards, Best Original Screenplay nominations at the 73rd British Academy Film Awards, and 92nd Academy Awards. A sequel is set to be released this year with Netflix owning the rights to two sequels written and directed by Johnson, with Craig reprising his role as detective Benoit Blanc. New York Times wrote a review of the film praising the director’s take on a murder mystery film. “The entreaty suggests how seriously Johnson takes his own cleverly deployed twists and the challenges of keeping ostensible spoilers under wraps. The twists are kinked and amusing, although far less striking than the obvious pleasure he had making this exactingly machined puzzle box.”
If we’re talking about solving mysteries, it’s a no-brainer we should include Sherlock Holmes in the list. The 2009 period mystery action film is based on the character of the same name created by Arthur Conan Doyle in his novels. The film was directed by Guy Ritchie and produced by Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram, Susan Downey, and Dan Lin with a screenplay by Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham, and Simon Kinberg. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law star in the film portraying Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, respectively. The film is set in the 1890s and follows detective Holmes and his companion Watson as they solve a series of murders occurring in London. They face an enemy who is devoted to the dark arts and wishes to take over Britain. Rachel McAdams and Mark Strong also star in the film as Irene Adler and Lord Henry Blackwood, respectively. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Original Score and Best Art Direction, and Downey won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy. A review of the film was published by Roger Ebert saying, “Guy Ritchie’s film is filled with sensational sights, over-the-top characters and a desperate struggle atop Tower Bridge, which is still under construction. It’s likely to be enjoyed by today’s action fans.”
If you’re looking for a family-friendly mystery film you can watch with the whole family, the film Enola Holmes would be the best pick. Enola Holmes is a 2020 mystery film based on the first book of Nancy Springer’s young adult fiction series of the same name. The film centers on the teenage sister of Sherlock Holmes, Enola, played by Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things. Enola tries to solve the mystery of her mother’s disappearance and as she discovers some clues, she goes on an adventure and travels to London to find her mother. The film is directed by Harry Bradbeer, from a screenplay by Jack Thorne. Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, and Helena Bonham Carter also star in the film. The film received positive and Brown received praise for her performance. A sequel is in production and is expected to be released this year. Variety praised the film’s take on feminism and other contemporary issues saying, “Centered on a long-haired runaway lord (Louis Partridge) and the passage of Great Britain’s Representation of the People Act 1884 (which paved the way for women’s suffrage a quarter-century later), the movie has contemporary issues of gender equality on the mind — and an endearingly radical protagonist in Enola.”
The Usual Suspects
Another classic whodunit film worth watching is the 1995 mystery thriller film The Usual Suspects directed by Bryan Singer and written by Christopher McQuarrie. It stars Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio del Toro, Kevin Pollak, Chazz Palminteri, Pete Postlethwaite, and Kevin Spacey. The film follows a sole survivor of a gun battle at a boat who narrates the events that lead to the chaos on the boat and talks about a mysterious crime Lord known as Keyser Söze who is behind everything that occurred. The film has received critical acclaim with McQuarrie winning the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and Spacey winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance. The film was also ranked as 35th for having the greatest screenplay of all time by the Writers Guild of America. Empire published a review of the film and described the film as “An extraordinary piece of filmmaking, this is that infrequent treat, a film that borders on the genius.”Millie Bobby Brown
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