20th Century Reviews

‘A Haunting in Venice’ Review: “A Surprising and Entertaining Mystery”

A Haunting in Venice

So, Kenneth Branagh got his way and made a third Hercule Poirot movie without still caring that he is the least French Englishman ever. But at least, this time he finally nailed it and gave us an entertaining movie. This week, “A Haunting In Venice” premieres in theaters.

We all remember the convoluted, A-list super packed, CGI messy movies that were “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Death On the Nile” where everything was designed (at least he tried) to make him shine above everyone else (even that horrible moustache), enough to make us wish that a third part would never happened. But it did, and fortunately, this time, it’s not that bad.

It´s 1947 an Hercule Poirot wants nothing to do with murders and mistery anymore, those which he has exchanged for eating cake. But when his friend Ariadne Oliver (Tina Fey) ask him to join her in trying to unmask psychic medium Joyce Reynolds (Michelle Yeoh). he just can´t say no. Reynolds is trying to contact famous opera singer Rowena Drake’s (Kelly Reilly) daughter, who, at least as the legend says, was driven mad by ghost children who were left to die in the once orphanage where they live. Once the seance starts, corpses start piling up and Poirot has to get his head back in the game. Rounding the cast we have Kyle Allen, Camille Cottin, Ali Khan, Emma Laird, Riccardo Scamarcio, and, to turn this into a Belfast’s reunion, Jamie Dornan and child actor Jude Hill.

A Haunting in Venice

Maybe, the biggest difference this time, is that Branagh was a little more free, because he wasn’t adapting Agatha Christie’s “Halloween Party” as much as he was just inspired by, which left a lot more room, along with screenwriter Michael Green, to toy around with the original material and let it float in a more natural way, which complemented by John Paul Kelly’s production and Sammy Sheldon’s incredible 1940’s costumes, gives us an eerie and spooky setting for a well crafted mistery.

For the first time, Branagh lets Poirot take a backseat in the story, letting the rest of the cast shine, while his character is dealing, not only with murder, but also with his own loss and grief (look up for “Katherine Grey” for more information on that subject) and that ends up being a very good thing for the movie. Candlelight, ghosts and shadows immerse the spectator’s attention into the gothic horror of the movie as soon as it starts.

Well crafted plot-twists and great star power, really bring to life this tale of murder to life, with its obviously stereotyped characters “whodunnit” style, where death its a character itself, and she has to deal with the world’s best detective, and we all know how that’s gonna end.

Yes, “Haunting…” is the best in the trilogy, where everybody had a better understanding of the type of story that was being told, giving us the hope of a fourth installment, rather than fearing it.

“A Haunting in Venice” is a solid, surprising and entertaining movie that’ll have wondering… “Who dunnit?”

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