A Haunting In Venice: Review (2023)

A Haunting In Venice: Review (2023)
A Haunting In Venice: Review (2023) : About
Release date: September 14, 2023 (Italy)
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Adapted from: Hallowe’en Party
Distributed by: 20th Century Studios
Budget: $60 million
Cinematography: Haris Zambarloukos

The Charm of Disguise and Accent

Done well, there can be nothing more enjoyable than a big, fake moustache and an overblown accent. Kenneth Branagh obviously agrees. Why else would he have spent the better part of six years playing the carefully coiffed Belgian detective Moohz-ure Poirot?

A Haunting Tale in Venice

Unfortunately, the two films he directed and starred in so far – Murder On The Orient Express and Death On The Nile – weren’t done well. And in latest entry A Haunting In Venice, no one’s enjoying themselves either.

Departure from Classic Caper Vibes

Departing from the classic caper vibes of Orient and Nile, Venice is a psychological ghost story filled with sudden jump scares and people having nervous breakdowns.

Poirot’s Peaceful Retirement

It begins with Poirot enjoying his retirement on The Floating City. He has artisanal bread delivered by boat each morning for breakfast and takes great pleasure in ignoring the long queue of prospective employers snaking around his apartment block.

A Night of Intrigue and Spirits

That wouldn’t make for a very exciting film though. So when his old pal, bestselling crime novelist Ariadne Oliver (Tina Fey), turns up and insists he accompany her to a seance that night, he agrees. The obsessively logical Poirot doesn’t believe in ghosts, but there’s definitely something creepy going on at the storm-battered palazzo they gather in. Is famous psychic Mrs Reynolds (Michelle Yeoh) yanking his cane – or will our expertly groomed gumshoe be forced to admit that not even he can collar a supernatural killer?

 

The Ensemble of Suspects

As ever, Branagh is joined by a star-stuffed cast of potential suspects. Alongside Fey and Yeoh are Jamie Dornan, who plays a neurotic doctor recently returned from war; Yellowstone‘s Kelly Reilly as a delicate opera diva; and French actress Camille Cottin in the downtrodden housekeeper role.

Suspense Overshadows Levity

None are allowed to cut loose by an unflashy script, and the spooky happenings mean everyone’s too frightened to crack a joke either.

A Glimpse into Venice’s Elegance

Saving the day this time isn’t Poirot, but the city itself which Branagh captures in all its decadently crumbling glory.

Venetian Splendor Through the Lens

Crane shots sweep over grand Renaissance buildings and dive back down again under tiny stone bridges. Poirot often takes his meetings at the top of a tall tower, providing breathtaking views of the Venice skyline. Occasionally, he’s presented in an almost Wes Anderson-ish fashion, splitting the shot symmetrically and against pastel-coloured backdrops.

Beauty Balancing the Dull Plot

Add to that some atmospheric, lamp-lit gondola rides through a foggy canal system and the film’s simple beauty just about compensates for its dull plot.

A Verdict in Shades of Gray

It’s a mixed bag, then. There’s plenty for the ITV3 Agatha Christie crowd to sink their dentures into, but not the shocking rebirth others had hoped for.

The Future of Poirot’s Adventures

A fourth adventure is as yet unannounced, though producer James Pritchard has said he hopes Branagh will return. Can he resist sticking on the tash one more time?

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the central theme of “A Haunting In Venice”?

“A Haunting In Venice” departs from the classic caper vibes of its predecessors and takes on the form of a psychological ghost story filled with sudden jump scares and characters experiencing nervous breakdowns.

2. Who are the main characters in the film?

The film features Kenneth Branagh as the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, alongside a star-studded cast including Tina Fey, Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Dornan, Kelly Reilly, and Camille Cottin.

3. Is “A Haunting In Venice” a departure from Branagh’s previous Poirot films?

Yes, “A Haunting In Venice” is notably different from Branagh’s earlier Poirot films, “Murder On The Orient Express” and “Death On The Nile,” in terms of its genre and atmosphere.

4. How does the film showcase the city of Venice?

Kenneth Branagh skillfully captures Venice in all its decadently crumbling glory, with crane shots sweeping over grand Renaissance buildings and providing breathtaking views of the Venice skyline.

5. What rating does the film have?

Despite the spine-chilling trailers and unsettling social media teasers, the film is rated as a 12A, which may disappoint horror enthusiasts seeking a more intense experience.

6. Are there plans for future Poirot adventures?

As of now, a fourth adventure has not been officially announced, but producer James Pritchard has expressed hope for Kenneth Branagh’s return to the role of Hercule Poirot.

7. How long did Kenneth Branagh portray Hercule Poirot?

Kenneth Branagh portrayed the meticulously groomed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot for nearly six years, showcasing his commitment to the character.

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