Friday, March 23, 2018

Movie Review: Agatha Christie's Crooked House (2017)

Agatha Christie's Crooked House (2017) directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner

Agatha Christie's novel, Crooked House, is given a lavish treatment. Private investigator Charles Hayward (Max Irons) is approached by former lover Sophia Leonides (Stephanie Martini) to investigate her grandfather's death, which she believes was murder. Aristide Leonides was a Greek immigrant to England who became quite wealthy by developing a restaurant and catering business. He had two sons, Philip and Roger, and three grandchildren. They all live at Three Gables (the titular crooked house), under the grandfather's rather oppressive thumb. His first wife died and he met his second, much younger wife in Las Vegas where she was a dancer. The death looks like poisoning and suspicion naturally falls on the seeming gold digger of a wife. The rest of the family has plenty of acrimony toward the old man and each other. Hayward has no shortage of suspects and only a few days before Scotland Yard will sweep in and expose family secrets along with the murder.

The plot is fairly intricate, which is only natural for a Christie story, and provides a lot of classic twists and shifts in suspicion. The cast gives fine performances and the estate looks beautiful. The time is mid-1950s, so the film has a bit of the clash of youth culture (popular music and dancing) with the estate life of England's upper class. The ending is shockingly bleak (and true to the novel if Wikipedia is to be believed) which may be why the movie didn't get much of a theatrical release. I hadn't heard of it when it came up on the local library's list of new DVD releases. I enjoyed watching it once but probably won't watch it again unless socially.

Recommended as a rental.

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