Entertainment Magazine

A Haunting In Venice

Posted on the 06 December 2023 by Sirmac2 @macthemovieguy

Where I Watched It: Hulu

English Audio Description?: Yes

What exactly is your frequency Kenneth? As a director in your Poirot series, you tackled the most well known stories first, before cracking open the Agatha Christie library for a work that might actually surprise your audience. Both previous works, Murder On The Orient Express and Death on The Nile were previously made, but A Haunting In Venice. Is less of a direct adaptation, and more of an inspired story, with a new title and all. This is what you should be doing, showing people why you wanted to bring something to this series to begin with.

Of course, as an actor, he’s back to his usual tricks. However, this story introduces and asks the question of paranormal activity, and whether or not a ghost could be the answer this time around? Of course, our mustached hero doesn’t believe in that nonsense, which makes him the perfect patsy at the center of a well told story that makes everyone question… did the ghost do it?

It’s effective always to have a non-believer in the role, but especially for someone like Poirot who has seen other murders, and figured out to the very last detail how things came to be. The moment there is something here he cannot explain, we get a sense that he is truly outside his element, and that’s what makes A Haunting In Venice for such a unique ride. It’s not your average whodunit, but a character we’ve already seen twice easily explain the unexplainable seems more lost here than ever before. Not to mention, some imagery really does shape the possibility that a ghost really did do it. And if so, how does our hero get his man? Or woman?

Boosted by a terrific supporting cast including Tina Fey, Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Dornan, Kelly Reilly, and Jude Hill, A Haunting in Venice is perhaps the least predictable entry thus far. There was a lot of craft and care put into the first entry, which is why we are even on film number three, but Venice feels like the film Branagh was always supposed to make.

The problem for me here, is that unlike the previous films where basically everyone in the entire cast is on the A-list, this film features several characters played by unknown character actors, which almost puts more of a spotlight on the recognizable faces. And as the bodies start to hit the floor, it is even more evident that a deeper pool to pay attention to would have been nice, as some of the deaths do occur from recognizable faces, which leaves the field quite diminished by the end for anyone who thinks the ghost definitely didn’t do it.

The audio description here is done well, not just in helping to shape the initial setting of this palazzo we have been asked to spend time at, but also in introducing the players, and being present as one by one they get checked off the list. There certainly are unexplainable things happening here, that seem to stun even Branagh’s character, and they don’t disappoint in the audio description as well. Without a true comparison of being able to see what I missed versus what I got, I thought it was a solid effort.

After Death On The Nile, I was ready to retire Branagh’s Poirot. However, if he’s willing to comb through the Christie library for more interesting stories like this, then I might just be on board for more. Mission Impossible started its turnaround at the third film as well, and maybe this will help Kenneth stay on the right frequency.

Final Grade: B+

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