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Film / Death on the Nile (2022)

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"The romance of the desert has the power to seduce. I ask you, have you ever loved so much, been so possessed by jealousy, that you might kill?"
Hercule Poirot

Death on the Nile is a 2022 American-British mystery thriller and the follow-up to 2017's Murder on the Orient Express. The third screen adaptation of Agatha Christie's novel of the same name, following the 1978 film and the 2004 episode of Poirot, it is directed once again by Kenneth Branagh (who stars once again as Poirot), with a screenplay by Michael Green. It was due to release on October 9, 2020, but was delayed several times until ultimately releasing on February 11, 2022 (due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and scandals surrounding Armie Hammer).

The story is set in 1937. Jacqueline de Bellefort (Emma Mackey) introduces her dashing fiance Simon Doyle (Armie Hammer) to her friend, wealthy heiress Linnet Ridgeway (Gal Gadot). The idea is that Linnet will hire Simon as manager of her estate, but it backfires rather badly on Jackie when, within six weeks, Simon marries Linnet.

Simon and Linnet go on a gala honeymoon, a cruise down the Nile River in Egypt. They have a lot of friends on board with them, but as it turns out, most of their "friends" have grudges against Linnet:

  • Linnet's maid Louise (Rose Leslie) resents Linnet for having torpedoed Louise's chance at marriage.
  • Linnet's old classmate Rosalie Otterbourne (Letitia Wright) is a black woman who was once subjected to racist prejudice from Linnet, although they became friends. But her aunt, famed blues singer Salome Otterbourne (Sophie Okonedo), hasn't forgiven Linnet for the incident.
  • Dr. Linus Windlesham (Russell Brand) is Linnet's old lover, dumped for Simon.
  • Linnet's cousin Andrew (Ali Fazal) turns out to have been embezzling from Linnet's estate.
  • Linnet's godmother Marie Van Schuyler (Jennifer Saunders) despises her fortune but stands to inherit if she dies.
  • Marie's nurse Mrs. Bowers (Dawn French) is a companion/servant because Linnet's father destroyed her father in business.
  • Euphemia Bouc (Annette Bening), mother to Linnetís and Poirot's mutual friend Bouc (Tom Bateman), hates that Linnet introduced her beloved son to Rosalie, since she disapproves of the match.

But the angriest person on the cruise is Jacqueline de Bellefort, who did not take being dumped at all well, and is stalking Simon and Linnet on their honeymoon, shooting Death Glares from her eyes all the while.

Just about the only person on the river cruise without a connection to Linnet is the famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot (Branagh), although unlike the source novel when he's simply on a vacation, this time he's on the cruise for a reason. So it's not quite a Busman's Holiday when poor Linnet is murdered, and Poirot has to find out who killed her.

A third Poirot film, A Haunting in Venice, has been announced.

Death on the Nile contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: The passengers/suspects aboard the Karnak become a lot more overtly suspicious and even hostile towards each other as the story progresses, compared to the original novel. At one point, two of the suspects literally come to blows. The reveal, towards the end of the film, that Poirot was hired to investigate the Otterbournes at Euphemia Bouc's behest further adds to the atmosphere of distrust. Exaggerated by the fact that the person who stole Linnet's necklace and the third murder victim in this adaptation are none other than Poirot's old friend Bouc, which emotionally shatters the detective and makes the case much more personal for him.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: In the novels, Hercule Poirot was already a renowned detective and retired Belgian police chief when the First World War broke out, at which point he came to England as a refugee. The film establishes a new backstory for this version of Poirot, depicting him as a soldier during the First World War, who aspired to be a farmer after the war was over. The tragic death of his lover Katherine is seemingly what drove him to become a detective.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The film includes a new subplot that was completely absent in the novel involving Poirot's secret investigation of the Otterbournes, at Euphamie Bouc's request, which is the reason why he is in Egypt in the first place. Poirot's backstory as a soldier during the First World War, and his ill-fated relationship with Katherine, are also elements that are original to this film, and indeed, this version of the character.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: In the book, it is mentioned that Linnet does not yet manage her own money because the terms of her trust state that she will assume control either when she turns twenty-one or when she marries (whichever comes first). In the movie, this is not mentioned at all, leaving the viewer to wonder why "Cousin Andrew's" presence in Linnet's life is even necessary.
  • Adaptational Nationality: An interesting case where the character's nationality is specified in the original story but not the adaptation. In the book, Linnet is an American, albeit one living in England and of partially English descent. In this film, Linnet's nationality is unspecified (with Gal Gadot using her natural Israeli accent), and it is only mentioned that her father did business in both England and the United States.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Linnet Doyle comes across as a more sympathetic character here than she did in the original novel and previous adaptations. She genuinely feels at least somewhat apologetic for taking her friend Jackie's fiancee from her, but makes a valid point that Simon shouldn't be forced to be with someone he no longer loves. In her last conversation with Jackie, she even makes an attempt at reconciliation. She also seems more sad, than bitter, about the fact that her wealth potentially damages all her relationships. We later learn from Rosalie how Linnet befriending her at school paved the way for her to be accepted by the other girls too.
    • Happens to Marie Van Schuyler as well. As opposed to the novel's portrayal of her as a snobbish and tyrannical rich widow who runs roughshod over her nurse-companion Miss Bowers and her cousin Cornelia, here she is presented as being a socialist who has given away much of her fortune and seems to genuinely believe in her stated political leanings. She also seems to have genuine feelings for Linnet, her goddaughter. And while she still plays the demanding boss to Miss Bowers it's later revealed to be a cover for the fact that they are in a relationship.
    • A downplayed example with Salome Otterbourne. The original version isn't a bad person, but she is The Alcoholic who's obsessed with talking about sex, and consequently has a somewhat troubled relationship with Rosalie. Here, she's shown to be a relatively sober, wise and dignified jazz-singer, who has a far better relationship with Rosalie, and who Poirot starts to develop feelings for.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul:
    • All the passengers on the Karnak have a personal connection to Linnet Ridgeway, connections that in most cases they didn't have in the original novel.
      • Miss Van Schuyler is Linnet's godmother in the film, whereas in the original novel they were strangers to each other.
      • Andrew Katchadourian, due to his Age Lift, is reimagined as Linnet's childhood friend and honorary 'Cousin', as opposed to being her father's old friend and her honorary 'Uncle'.
      • Rosalie Otterbourne is depicted as Linnet's old schoolfriend, while in the novel she had no personal connection to Linnet.
    • Marie Van Schuyler and Miss Bowers seemingly retain their traditional relationship as employer and nurse-companion but are later revealed to be secret lovers.
  • Adaptational Job Change:
    • Salome Otterbourne is a jazz singer in this adaptation, rather than being a romance novelist.
    • Due to being a Composite Character with Dr. Bessner, Lord Windlesham becomes Dr. Windlesham in this adaptation, as opposed to being Idle Rich.
    • Happens to none other than Poirot himself in the Distant Prologue. While Poirot is traditionally depicted as being a Belgian police chief prior to World War I, here he's shown to have been a soldier during the war who was aspiring to be a farmer. That said, the previous film alluded to him being a former police officer in this continuity as well.
    • Even one of the locations is subjected to a variation of this trope: Chez Ma Tante goes from being a staid, upscale restaurant to being a nightclub.
  • Adapted Out: In the novel, the Karnak had a lot more passengers than appear in the film, and a lot of parallel plotlines and red herrings are dropped from the film alongside them.
    • Characters who have been adapted out include Colonel Race (with Bouc taking his role as The Watson to Poirot), the Allertons (due to being merged with Bouc and his mother), Cornelia Robson, Dr. Bressner (who is merged with Lord Windlesham), Jim Ferguson (whose characterization as an aristocrat turned Communist is given to Marie Van Schulyer, and disdain for his own aristocracy is given to Windlesham), Jim Fanthorp, Signor Richetti and Joanna Southwood.
    • Linnet's country house, Wode Hall, is absent from this adaptation, with the first meeting between Linnet and Simon being relocated to a London nightclub instead, though it is mentioned a few times.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Jacqueline and Simon who are quite sympathetic in the book and previous adaptations, are portrayed as much more sinister and psychotic here, pulling out guns when they are outed as the killers. They also don't show any regret for murdering Linnet, unlike the book where Jackie was filled with remorse and Simon couldn't cope with the guilt and eventually confessed to his crime. Jacqueline in particular is more antagonistic here and lacks the touching bond with Poirot that she does in the book and other two versions.
      • Also, in this version Jacqueline and Simon planned to murder Linnet for her money from the get-go, even before Jackie introduced them. In the novel, Simon was unemployed after having been caught embezzling, and Jackie, who loved her friend Linnet dearly, counted on her to give Simon a job managing her estate. What she WASN'T counting on was that Linnet, desiring Simon as soon as she laid eyes on him, would blatantly and shamelessly try to seduce him away from Jackie, never caring in the least that Jackie was her friend. After all, Linnet had never been denied anything she wanted in her life, and believed she was simply entitled by virtue of her birth to everything she desired, even if it was her best friend's fiance. Simon had no interest in Linnet, but was VERY interested in her money, and only got the idea for marrying and killing Linnet after she started throwing herself at him. Jackie knew that he wasn't capable of pulling it off without getting caught, and couldn't dissuade Simon from his intentions, so she entered into the plot to come up with a foolproof method and protect Simon. (By that point, she had no love left for Linnet, and figured that if she was going to die anyway it might as well be in a way that wouldn't implicate Simon.) As Poirot reflected sadly, Jackie had no interest in Linnet's money, but became an accessory to her murder for the love of a selfish and mercenary man. In this film, Jackie's just as cold-blooded and mercenary as Simon, and IS out for Linnet's money.
    • Andrew dropping the rock on Simon and Linnet is mentioned to be a genuine accident in the book and previous adaptations. In this version, it is purposeful, though he regrets it immediately.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The film ends six months after the events on the Nile, with Poirot visiting Salome Otterbourne during her rehearsal at the same nightclub from the start of the film, with his moustache having been shaved off. It's unclear if this means he's seeking a relationship with her, or is already in one. It's also unclear if this means that he has retired from detective work.
  • Arbitrary Gun Power:
    • The gun Jacqueline uses to kill Simon and herself kills them both with a single shot that goes clean through him and still has enough power to kill her. The only problem is that the gun appears to be another .22 similar to the one used to kill Linnet, which as is pointed out in-universe, is little more than a toy.
    • The opposite happens earlier when Bouc is killed with Andrew's pistol leaving only a neat little hole. Suffice to say, getting shot in the neck with a .45 caliber pistol would leave one hell of a bigger mess.
  • Artistic License Ė Biology: Poirot is revealed to have grown his mustache to hide the massive scarring across his upper lip... except scar tissue cannot grow hair. His luxurious whiskers should be patchy at best.
    • His luxurious whiskers may not be one hundred percent genuine.
  • Assassination Attempt: Cousin Andrew attempts to kill Linnet and Simon by shoving a rock at them from above as they are about to make love while everyone's visiting the Great Temple of Abu Simbel.
  • Awesome by Analysis: The opening battle scene shows Poirot doing this even before becoming a detective. He observes the flight of birds and deduces that the wind has shifted, making it the perfect time to advance on a German position behind a poison gas attack. They manage to take the bridge with minimal casualties. Also averted, as only too late does Poirot notice the German tripwire trap that blows up the bridge and his Captain.
  • Ax-Crazy: Jackie, who is stalking Simon and Linnet and breathing unhinged hatred from every pore, culminating with pulling out the gun in her purse and shooting Simon in the leg.
  • Back for the Dead: Bouc from Murder on the Orient Express returns only to become Jacqueline's third and final victim.
  • Badass Boast: When Andrew asks Poirot who told him that Andrew had mismanaged Linnet's wealth, Poirot responds with a line straight from the book.
    I am Hercule Poirot! I do not need to be told!
  • Bait-and-Switch: The film opens in World War I, and we see a Belgian officer with Poirot's distinctive mustache. While we initially assume this is the famous detective as a young man, we then see the actual Poirot sans mustache.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Inverted with Poirot, who grew his giant signature mustache as a reminder of his undying love for Katherine and shaves it off after his heart is broken by the death of his dear friend Bouc, the last person in the world that he loved as much as he did her.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Linnet is to say the least not exactly thrilled about Jacqueline stalking her and Simon.
    • Euphemia would hear nothing about her son's love and potential marriage to Rosalie.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Jackie chooses suicide over arrest and eventual execution by hanging, and kills herself and Simon with one bullet.
  • Bettyand Veronica Switch: Linnet is presented as something of a bitch who stole her friend Jackie's fiancé, only to have it turn out that Jackie and Simon were conspiring against her.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Jackie and Simon, who together plotted the murder of Linnet from the beginning.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Poirot solves the murders and Jacqueline kills herself and Simon to avoid being separated and hanged for their crimes, but Bouc has been murdered by them, leaving Rosalie, Poirot and Euphemia devastated and Salome greatly saddened for her niece's loss, with the apparent Ship Tease between her and Poirot seemingly extinguished. In the final scene though we see Poirot going back to the club Salome sings at a few months later and with his moustache shaved, showing his war scar, implying a Maybe Ever After for them.
  • Bloodless Carnage: The third murder. Bouc gets shot in the neck with a .45 caliber pistol at a relatively close range, but it only leaves a neat little hole, instead of being drenched in blood as such a large wound in such a bodypart full of blood vessels would cause.
  • Bookends: The film's main narrative begins with Poirot visiting a London nightclub where Salome Otterbourne is performing and where he first encounters many of the principal characters of the story. It ends with Poirot visiting the same nightclub six months after solving the case, only this time he's the sole witness to Salome Otterbourne's rehearsal.
    • The film's opening scene, set during World War I features a clean-shaven Poirot, and reveals that he chooses to grow a moustache due to a facial injury he sustained on the battlefield. By the end of the film, in the aforementioned nightclub scene, he has shaved off his moustache and his scars from the old injury are visible.
    • Poirot grew out his signature mustache at the suggestion of Katherine, the love of his life, after Bouc, whom he loved like a little brother, was slain by the murderess, he shaves it off in grief and heartbreak.
  • Busman's Holiday: Averted as Poirot is working on another case that brings him to Egypt, but he doesn't reveal what it is until later in the movie.
  • The Cameo: David Suchet is the man entering the club during the last scene. Suchet played the title character in Poirot.
  • Canon Foreigner: Euphemia, Bouc's mother, is an original character created for the film, who does not appear in any of the novels. However, she does broadly play a similar role to Mrs. Allerton from the original story.
    • Applies to Poirot's long-lost love, Katherine, as well, who did not exist in the novels (though she was mentioned in the previous film).
  • Chekhov's Gun: Euphemia mentions that the Red Carmine has disappeared from her painting kit. Turns out Simon stole it to simulate his gunshot wound.
  • Composite Character: Some of the characters take on attributes of other characters from the novel that have been Adapted Out.
    • Bouc once again acts as The Watson to Poirot, a role that was filled by Colonel Race in the novel. He also serves as Rosalie Otterbourne's love interest, a role fulfilled by Tim Allerton in the novel, and like Allerton is the one who steals Linnet's jewels. He also replaces Salome Otterbourne as the witness to the second murder and the third murder victim.
    • Ms. Van Schuyler takes on Mr Fergunson's role as an ardent communist criticizing the passengers.
    • Bowers takes on Cornelia Robson's role as a formerly wealthy person whose family was ruined by Linnet's father.
    • Doctor Windlesham is a combination of Lord Charles Windlesham, Linnet's nobleman former fiancé, and Doctor Carl Bessner, the only physician among the Karnak's passengers who acts as ad hoc coroner.
  • Cool Boat: The Karnak is quite a pleasing river boat to see and visit.
  • Crime After Crime: Simon and Jacqueline were only planning to murder Linnet so they could make off with her money, but then Jacqueline had to kill both Louise (who saw Simon sneak in Linnet's room to murder her) and Bouc (who saw her dispose of Louise).
  • Crocodile Tears: Simon after Linnet's death, since he is the one who killed her.
  • Cruise Episode: Poirot goes on a cruise on the Nile in this film. He's summoned on the cruise, unlike the original story and previous adaptations where he happened to be there on a vacation.
  • Darker and Edgier: Darker than the previous film, Murder on the Orient Express. The death toll is higher, Poirot is given an additional tragic backstory to his character arc and is overall more dramatic and tense, ending on a very bittersweet note, with the detective being profoundly broken by the murder of Bouc.
  • Death by Adaptation: Bouc does not actually die in the source material, nor had a role in Death on The Nile, in contrast to here.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Bouc is murdered before he and Rosalie can take the next step in their future.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Jacqueline goes from having her Villainous Breakdown to this right before killing Simon and herself
  • Distant Prologue: The film begins in 1914, with Poirot as a soldier during World War I and reveals how a wartime injury led him to grow his iconic moustache, as well as touching upon his relationship with Katherine, before jumping forward to the main narrative in 1937.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Dr. Windlesham proposed to Linnet in the past, but she refused. His frustration over being rejected is noted by Poirot and Bouc, and the detective brings it up when interrogating the doctor.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The Karnak, since practically everyone aboard is a Stepford Smiler and has a motive for murdering Linnet. As it turns out later, Simon purposefully invoked this for Rule of Drama and averting the suspicions away from himself
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: The trailer wastes no time displaying the Pyramids of Giza and the colossal statues of the Abu Simbel temples to show us that it's set in Egypt. The "A" in "Death" in the film's logo is even styled as an outline of a pyramid.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Simon and Jackie with each other.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Poirot's interviews quickly establish that virtually everyone on the Karnak other than the crew and himself had either reason to dislike Linnet or something to gain from her death. And most of them had a window of opportunity in which they theoretically could have committed the murder. Poirot comes to believe that this was an Invoked Trope by the killer to muddy the waters.
  • Failure-to-Save Murder:
    • A young Poirot feels that of himself when he manages to get his company across No Man's Land with virtually no casualties, then sees his Captain be killed by a booby trap he failed to detect shortly after the battle ends.
    • Bouc's mother repeatedly accuses Poirot of Murder by Inaction. This becomes even more poignant and meaningful after Bouc himself gets murdered
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Mother: Euphemia is absolutely against Bouc marrying Rosalie because she thinks that their marriage is bound to end in breakdown and disappointment. All his attempts to convince her otherwise end with her stating that Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids! and she won't hear of it again. It doesn't even appear to have anything to do with Rosalie. She appears to be adamantly opposed to the idea of her son marrying anyone, ever, because of the possibility that it might not work out.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Early in the film, Poirot is at a London nightclub and is served seven little desserts. However, he demands the waiter take one away because he cannot arrange seven plates on his table in a pleasing matter. The remaining six plates he arranges into a pyramid.
    • While welcoming everyone on board the Karnak, Linnet is startled by a loud popping noise that turns out to be Simon opening a champagne bottle. The sound mimics that of a gunshot, and Simon is the one who shoots her.
    • When Jacqueline rails at him in the bar, Simon scoffs "get ready, she's about to do a scene." Sure enough the whole thing turns out to be a performance of her "shooting" him.
    • Linnet and Jacqueline met during a school production of Antony and Cleopatra where Linnett was Cleopatra. Just like those lovers, both of them, and Simon, end up dead in a twisted romance.
    • Jacqueline repeatedly mentions how she cannot live without Simon and speaks of killing herself if she can't be with him.
    • After everyone's return from the Temple of Abu Simbel and the noting of how strong the love of Rameses II was for his queen Nefertari, so much so they are depicted together forever on the exterior of the temple, Jackie tells Poirot that pharaoh's wives were buried alive with them so that they could be together in the afterlife. This again is foretelling Jackie and Simon's murder-suicide so that they too will be together in death.
  • Girl with Psycho Weapon: Jacqueline shows Poirot her .22 in response to him trying to convince her to leave Simon and Linnet alone. Played with later. It's Simon who uses the .22 to kill Linnet, whereas Jacqueline steals Windlesham's scalpel and Andrew's .45 to kill Louise and Bouc respectively
  • Hand Cannon: Andrew carries a gigantic .45, which he produces as evidence that he would not have committed Linnet's murder with a tiny .22. The .45 is later stolen from Andrew's cabin and serves to murder Bouc during his interrogation.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Poirot starts this film as this, like he did in Orient Express, having lost his one true love Katherine in World War I, and even more so by the finale, wherein he loses Bouc, his dearest friend, to the murderess' gun thanks to his insistent interrogation for him to reveal her identity.
  • He Knows Too Much:
    • Simon tells Jacqueline to kill Louise who saw him sneak into Linnet's room.
    • Later he signals Jacqueline to shoot Bouc through the throat after realizing that he was about to tell Poirot who killed Louise.
  • His Name Is...: Bouc is shot just before revealing critical information, hesitating to speak because it's also self-incriminating.
  • Honor Before Reason: When Poirot suggests that Simon and Linnet could escape Jacqueline's stalking by leaving Egypt early and going back home, Linnet considers it at first, but Simon scoffs at the idea of cutting their honeymoon short. Actually, the real reason Simon refuses to cut the honeymoon short is because remaining on the Egypt trip is essential to his and Jacqueline's plan to kill Linnet while seemingly giving themselves airtight alibis.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The opening plays up the sexual attraction between Simon and Jacqueline more than any previous adaptation with a steamy sequence on the dance floor, and the film overall displays more sensuality than Murder on the Orient Express.
  • Hypocrite: Marie Van Schuyler is introduced as a hypocrite, loudly criticizing the "bourgeois" hotel and lambasting their treatment of the working class, but leaving her nurse companion Miss Bowers to pick up her bags for her. Poirot even wonders out loud why Marie, a supposed communist who despises materialism, would hire an ever-present servant. It's because Bowers is actually her lover, making it a subversion.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In a surprise even for Poirot, Windlesham, despite having every motivation to kill Linnet for dumping him for Simon (what with the social and media fallout of it), admits he's on the boat because he already knows he was inadequate as a man for Linnet's interests and passions. Despite all that, he still loves her anyway.
    What do you want me to say?! What do you want me to say? That I know I'm ridiculous? (sighs deeply) I'm not a fool. I knew she was settling for me. I didn't mind. When she married Simon, I actually thought about ending my own life. They all thought our engagement was for the families, the papers, for the damn aristocratic theatrics of it all. The shame of it is... I loved her.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...:
    • Salome's main argument as to why she is not the killer. If she were the type to kill anyone who behaved in a racist manner towards her, then "the world would be littered with dead white ladies".
    • Andrew has a similar argument a little earlier in the movie. When Poirot is interrogating him as a suspect, Andrew pulls out a .45 caliber handgun and says that if he had to kill someone, he would use that (instead of the .22 caliber peashooter that was used).
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: Bouc is unfortunately killed after being shot in the neck.
  • Insatiable Newlyweds: Despite their determination to ignore Jacqueline, Linnet and Simon can't resist taunting her about this:
    Linnet: (in response to Jacqueline's query about why Simon isn't coming to their cabin with her) "Oh, we've already made love today. Twice".
    Simon: (holds up three fingers and mouths "Three times")
  • Info Dump: Bouc helpfully identifies all the party guests at the Cataract Hotel. Justified as he's identifying them for Poirot, who hasn't met them yet.
  • Inheritance Murder:
    • The reason why Poirot suspects Cousin Andrew is that he might have something to gain from his rich cousin's death. Andrew corrects him — he won't get a dime if she dies, but Marie Van Schuyler will. Poirot then tries the 'inheritance' line of questioning when he interrogates Marie, who frankly reminds him that she's a communist who gave away most of her money.
    • Ultimately, Poirot is right about the motive being inheritance: Jacqueline and Simon plannet Linnet's murder so Simon would get all her money.
  • Lady in Red: The seductive Jacqueline de Bellefort wears a red dress during the opening, as well as when making her entrance at the hotel in Egypt.
  • Let Off by the Detective: At the end Andrew assumes that Poirot will arrest him for embezzlement, but Poirot says he won't, as long as Andrew pays the money back and manages Linnet's estate honestly.
  • The Lost Lenore: Katherine, the one-time love of Poirot's life who was mentioned in the previous film, appears here in a flashback. It is later implied that she died in a train accident (or enemy attack) while on her way to meet Hercule over Christmas in 1914.
  • Little Useless Gun: The .22 Derringer used to commit the first murder is derided as a 'toy'. Averted with Andrew's .45 semi-automatic
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Half of the people on the boat are suspects because, as Poirot observes, "People kill for love."
  • Love Hurts: Poirot, Mrs. Bowers and Mrs. Bouc have this opinion, though Poirot at least still hopes that others find happiness in it.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Simon and Linnet were about to fulfill this trope on top of a narrow walkway before Andrew shoved a rock at them.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Bouc has fallen for Rosalie and would like to marry her, but his mother Euphemia is vehemently against it. Surprisingly for the time the movie is set, this is not due to Rosalie being an African-American woman, but out of the belief that Love Hurts and not wanting it to happen to her son.
  • Manchild: Bouc already had signs of this trope on the previous movie, but he fully cements himself as one here. It is revealed he couldn't hold a job at his uncle's office and his entire trip to Egypt is being paid by his mother, who utterly dominates and controls his life. He is introduced flying a kite at the pyramids, and is depicted as a little figure in Euphemia's paintings.
  • Mating Dance: Simon and Jacqueline's opening scene is a steamy dance that stops just short of the two ripping each other's clothes off and humping in the middle of a crowded nightclub dance floor.
  • Mexican Standoff: One when Poirot unmasks Jackie and Simon, with Jackie pointing her gun at Poirot, Poirot pointing his gun at her and Salome pointing her Derringer at her as well.
  • Monochrome Past: The opening scene set in World War 1 is Deliberately Monochrome in its presentation.
  • Murder Makes You Crazy: Jacqueline isn't exactly in the most stable state by the end of the film.
  • Murder-Suicide: After their plot is revealed, Jacqueline ends up shooting both herself and Simon to avoid facing the punishment for what they did. It's implied that Simon was not expecting her to do that, based on the shocked look on his face after she shoots him.
  • My Beloved Smother: Euphemia Bouc thinks that any woman interested in his son is just after him for his money, and so she finds ways to drive them away, even hiring Poirot to investigate Rosalie Otterbourne.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: By the end of the film, the hearts of both Euphemia and Poirot are heavy with guilt for being directly responsible for Bouc's death, the former due to her stubbornly cynical refusal to support her son's happiness driving him to steal Linnet's diamond necklace to finance his marriage with Rosalie, and the latter's insistent interrogation of him for the murderer's identity forcing Jackie to silence him with a gunshot to the throat.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Necro Cam: As Poirot puts things together, his deductions about how the crimes went down are presented in Deliberately Monochrome flashbacks. One example is the scene where Bouc witnesses Louise murdered, then chucks his coat (splattered with arterial blood) into the river.
  • Never One Murder: One murder quickly turns into three due to Gambit Pileup. This is played for a point of contrast to the previous film and for heavy drama as the passengers of the Karnak become horrified and furious at the fact that Poirot not only failed to prevent Linnet's murder but didn't deduce or apprehend the killer fast enough to prevent two more killings from happening, with them realistically calling out his ego and reputation. Things get even more crushing once Bouc is killed, more personally devastating Poirot and making him feel all the more like a failure.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer for the film puts a lot empathise on Linnet, framing it like she will be one of the suspects for the crime rather than being the victim herself. This was likely very intentionally done for those haven't read the book or seen the previous two adaptations.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: This version of Salome Otterbourne is an African-American musician, an early adopter of electric guitar whose playing style is rock-and-roll avant la lettre and who performs gospel music in secular clubs. All of which would give her a close resemblance to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, even putting aside the fact that her performances are represented by actual recordings of Tharpe.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Dr. Windlesham is revealed to be a lord that rejects going by his title, wanting to define himself through his work as a doctor.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The case that Poirot was summoned to Egypt to solve at the end of the previous film is not the one featured in this one. Poirot is mentioned to have solved it and is already back in London by the time the action catches up with him in 1937. No detail is given about what that case involved.
    • When Poirot reveals that she has a gun hidden in her turban Salome volunteers the information that she has used it three times. Twice in self defense and once in anger, but doesn't elaborate what either of those events entailed.
  • Obsessively Organized: Poirot's obsession with order and symmetry is displayed once again. At the London nightclub, he demands one of his little desserts be taken away because he cannot arrange the seven plates on his table in a pleasing fashion. Later, after Linnet is murdered and the body brought to the ship's cold store, he twists one foot of the corpse so that the toes on both feet are pointing straight up.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Shortly before she's murdered, Linnet tries to apologise to Jacqueline because she was once her only friend who never cared about her money. Turns out the entire murder scheme is to get their hands on her money.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Jacqueline kills both Simon and herself by shooting in Simon's back when they are unmasked by Poirot — the bullet goes through her chest as well.
  • Outlaw Couple: Jacqueline and Simon, two lovers who made a scheme to inherit Linnet's fortune by faking a breakup.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Louise's body is seen thumping against an inspection window in the cover of one of the ship's paddlewheels.
  • Pillow Silencer: Simon uses a scarf to muffle both the sound of shooting himself in the leg and the sound when he murders Linnet.
  • Poirot Speak: But of course, since it's the Trope Namer. Poirot speaks English with a very thick French-like accent.
  • Properly Paranoid: Linnet is noticeably twitchy throughout her honeymoon, convinced that Jacqueline or someone else is out to get her. She's right.
  • Promoted to Love Interest:
    • Poirot and Salome. In the book and following two adaptations, Salome has a one-sided attraction to the detective who considers her a Abhorrent Admirer and politely rebuffs her poor seduction like a gentleman. In the film Poirot finds himself attracted to her and reciprocates her flirtation. He even attends her show at the jazz club in the ending.
    • Bouc and Rosalie. In the book they have never met each other, due to Bouc being from a different Poirot story altogether. Here Bouc's character is combined with Tim Allerton, who was Rosalie's actual love interest turned fiancé in the book.
    • Marie Van Schuyler and Miss Bowers. In the book and previous adaptations Van Schuyler treats Miss Bowers terribly, never wasting any opportunity to bully and demean her nurse. Here the "demanding boss" aspect is just a cover up for their secret lesbian romance.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend:
  • Race Lift: Happens to a number of characters in an effort to make the cast more diverse for this adaptation. In both cases, it becomes plot relevant.
    • Salome and Rosalie Otterbourne are African-Americans, rather than being white Englishwomen. The supposed motive Salome had for killing Linnet is linked to a racist incident Salome was the victim of in 1925 because of Linnet.
    • The Caucasian American Andrew Pennington becomes the Armenian Andrew Katchadourian. The reason he gives for leaving his .45 in his room, despite being in a ship with a killer, is that he feared that if the authorities found a "brown man with a gun" on board when they got to port he'd be shot on sight.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Some viewers found it off that Salome is playing an electric guitar in a 1937 club. However, electric guitars did begin to be used in the early 1930s and Charlie Christian was using one in jazz clubs in 1936. It's thus logical Salome, an experienced musician, would be adapting to the use of one as well.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Rosalie delivers one to Poirot after he reveals that he was hired by Bouc's mother to investigate her and her aunt, calling him, among other things, a vain, egotistical freak. A version of Agatha Christie's own description of Poirot as a "detestable, bombastic, tiresome, ego-centric little creep".
  • Red Herring:
    • At the beginning of the film, there is a shot of Louise trying on Linnetís necklace, implying she yearns for the rich life her employer has and may benefit from killing her. However she ends up being killed by Jacqueline after witnessing Linnet's killer in the act, and attempting to extort them with her silence.
    • Early on, someone attempts to kill Simon and Linnet by dropping a boulder on top of them, but this ends up being unrelated to Linnet's murder—while Andrew Katchadourian did try to kill them with a boulder, he regretted it afterwards, and he wasn't the one who shot Linnet.
  • Reformed Bully: Linnet was racist (and possibly a Spoiled Brat) as a child, causing Salome and Rosalie to be ejected from a resort in 1925 because she didn't want to share a pool with black people, but she outgrew it by the time she met Rosalie again in boarding school, actually being the first one to befriend Rosalie despite her race, tacitly giving the other girls license to do the same.
  • Related Differently in the Adaptation: Rosalie Otterbourne is Salome's niece and ward in this version, rather than her daughter as in the novel.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • The look on Jackie's face watching Simon and Linnet dance. At first it seems like jealousy, but the revelation that they've been conspiring against her means she was actually hoping that their plan was working.
    • Simon's tears over Linnet's death seem ridiculously overdone, until we learn that he's her killer and that he was indeed faking it.
  • Riches to Rags: Poirot deduces that Miss Bowers used to be wealthy, as she certainly has the attitude of a wealthy woman, but her belongings, while fancy, are old and worn. It turns out that Linnet's father ruined the Bowers family business.
  • Rule of Drama: All the wedding guests seem nice and happy, right? Wrong! Actually they all have some hidden Dark and Troubled Past that comes out during the course of the movie.
  • Scary Minority Suspect: Discussed by Andrew, who fears the police will shoot him on sight on the basis of being "a brown man with a gun".
  • Scenery Porn: The film displays gorgeous shots of both the Egyptian scenery and the steamboat.
  • Secret Test of Character: Linnet gave one to Louise's boyfriend in the background of the story, offering to pay off all his debts if he broke their engagement. He took the money.
  • Significant Haircut: Poirot grew out his signature giant-mustache to cover up the gruesome shrapnel wounds he sustained in World War I at the suggestion of his love Katherine. After losing Bouc, whom he loved like a little brother, to the murderess, he finally shaves said mustache off in grief, revealing the scars beneath.
  • Slain in Their Sleep: Linnet by Simon, though she wakes up for long enough to whisper his name
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Salome Otterbourne is never in any direct danger, and her part as a witness to Louise Bourget's murder and third victim is filled by poor Bouc.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Poirot figures out Jacqueline's note  plan, which would probably have gone off without a hitch had he not been aboard the Karnak.
    • Simon gets angry when the maid forgets to pack the red nail polish that he was going to use for the Staged Shooting, forcing him to steal a tube of red paint from Euphemia. These two events get Poirot's attention and help him realise that the blood in the first shooting was fake.
  • Splash of Color: Poirot's Imagine Spots when he explains his proposed version of the events are shot in black and white, with the discussed object or detail being left colored (Linnet's red nail polish, the red paint in Euphemia's paint set).
  • Spotting the Thread: Poirot, of course, is a master of it.
    • He realizes that the bed in Bowers' room looks perfectly made in the bedspread style that was used when they first boarded and not the hospital-corner style that's been in use since they departed. This leads him to conclude that Bowers was with Van Schuyler as they're actually lovers.
    • He sees that Bouc's mother painted him wearing a green coat, rather than red because her red paint was missing. That leads him to realize it was used by Simon to fake his "shooting."
    • While Andrew Katchadourian and Dr. Windlesham are fighting, he leans back against a bulkhead that was splattered with Louise's blood and sees there's a man-shaped gap in the droplets, leading him to conclude somebody witnessed the murder.
    • He realizes that Bouc knows more than he's telling about the murders when Bouc insists on contacting Louise's ex to tell him that she's dead and realizes that he didn't wake Linnet when Simon was shot is because he already knew she was dead (though he isn't the killer).
  • Staged Shooting: Jacqueline fires a blank round at Simon, causing everybody to run out, either to fetch Dr. Windlesham or take Jacqueline away. This gives Simon the chance to run off, shoot Linnet, and then return to the saloon and shoot himself for real. With Jacqueline drugged and under Mrs. Bowers' watch, and Simon's leg shattered, they both have alibis for Linnet's murder.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Jacqueline appears to be that way towards Simon but actually the whole thing was planned by the two of them.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Bouc and Rosalie become sincerely attracted to each other, but his mother Euphemia refuses to give him her blessings. And then he is murdered by Jacqueline, ensuring they will never be with each other.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Bouc is the only other returning character from Murder on the Orient Express, and ends up getting killed in this one.
  • Summation Gathering: Poirot admits this trope is just a way of showing off to everyone how clever he is. By this stage however he's not playing games; he has the crew lock everyone in the room and stands guard over the only exit with a .45 in his hand.
  • Survivor Guilt: Euphemia and Poirot at the end of the film for being directly responsible for Bouc's death at the hands of Jackie.
  • Third-Person Person: Rosalie calls out Poirot for doing this as a sign of his rampant ego.
  • Trail of Blood: Gets left behind after Louise's murder. A gap in the spray allows Poirot to realize that there was a witness to the killing.
  • Treasure Is Bigger in Fiction: The pearl necklace from the book is replaced with a diamond necklace containing a gemstone pendant the size of a golf ball.
  • Wardrobe Flaw of Characterization:
    • Poirot observes that Mrs. Bower's clothing, accessories, and luggage are all very expensive but also ten years out of fashion and show signs of repeated mending and deduces that she's someone who loves being glamorous but can't afford to be trendy. This leads her to reveal that she used to be fabulously wealthy but that the stock market crash wiped out her fortune and hasn't been able to enjoy the finer things in a long time.
    • Salome wears a hat that is long out of style, which Poirot deduces is because it has enough room inside to allow her to conceal a holdout gun.
  • Went Crazy When They Left: Why Linnet and Simon approach Poirot about Jacqueline.
  • Woman Scorned: Subverted. At first it looks like Jacqueline killed Linnet because she took Simon away from her but eventually Poirot figures out that Simon and Jacqueline are still together and planned the whole thing from the very beginning.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Simon fakes a leg injury with a help of some red paint that he stole from Bouc's mother to sneak into Linnet's room and kill her while everyone's busy dealing with Jacqueline

"How many great stories are tragedies?"


Video Example(s):


Jacqueline and Simon

To establish their lust for each other to the audience, the young couple dances very sensually, to the point of simulating multiple sex positions.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / MatingDance

Media sources: