Last Updated on November 27, 2023 by SPN Editor
In Kenneth Branagh’s latest movie, “A Haunting in Venice,” he shows us a side of his filmmaking skills that might not be well-known. He might not be as famous as directors like Martin Scorsese, but he’s definitely not a bad director. He’s more like a reliable director who consistently makes entertaining movies.
“A Haunting in Venice” is his third film about Agatha Christie’s detective Hercule Poirot, and it might be his best one yet. In this movie, Branagh gets creative with his filmmaking.
The movie includes the usual group of suspects you’d expect in a murder mystery. There’s a nervous family doctor played by Jamie Dornan, two clever assistants of Mrs. Reynolds portrayed by Emma Laird and Ali Khan, and an overly clever child named Jude Hill. Michelle Yeoh is as charming and mysterious as Mrs. Reynolds, while Kelly Reilly is enigmatic and fragile as Rowena Drake.
Every shot in the film is carefully planned, and the camera angles are unusual, making it visually interesting. The story itself is a classic murder mystery, but it also deals with themes like death and the afterlife, which adds depth to the plot.
What’s most impressive in “A Haunting in Venice” is Branagh’s bold choices as a director. Not all of them work perfectly, but they show that he’s willing to take risks.
The film’s visuals, along with the eerie sounds, create a sense of unease and mystery. There’s even a distant sound of children singing, which adds to the spooky atmosphere.
This movie proves that Branagh is not just a director who does what’s expected. He genuinely tries to do something different with his films. Even when some choices don’t work, they still deserve credit. “A Haunting in Venice” remains entertaining and engaging, which is quite an achievement.
The story starts with Poirot in retirement, trying to avoid fans who want his help with solving mysteries. However, he’s drawn back into the world of mysteries when Ariadne Oliver, played by Tina Fey, asks for his assistance.
They investigate a medium, Mrs. Reynolds, played by Michelle Yeoh, and a séance that goes wrong. This leads to a series of deaths connected to the apparent suicide of Rowena’s daughter and the ghostly visions she experienced.
Although the movie is based on Agatha Christie’s novel “Hallowe’en Party” from 1969, it takes some creative liberties to keep the audience guessing. It moves away from the usual murder mystery settings and places it in a decrepit palazzo with rooms that change and are haunted by vengeful spirits.
This haunted-house element adds a sense of fear to Poirot, who is usually very composed. It also makes the audience wonder if something supernatural is happening.
“A Haunting in Venice” not only has scary moments but also creates a spooky atmosphere that gets under your skin. Branagh’s portrayal of Poirot as a more haunted detective adds complexity to the character. The film makes you question if the ghosts are real or if they are a product of Poirot’s own inner struggles.
“A Haunting in Venice” is a different take on the classic Poirot mystery, and it shows that Branagh is willing to experiment with visuals and storytelling.
It’s a departure from his previous adaptations, and that’s a good thing. Kenneth Branagh proves that even with familiar characters and stories, there’s room for innovation and surprises.
Signpost Movie Reviewers is proud to give 4 stars out of 5.