- Published: Saturday, 16 September 2023 15:37
- Written by Lupe R Haas
Kenneth Branagh rounds out his Hercule Poirot trilogy with A HAUNTING IN VENICE, the best of the three. The film is aesthetically pleasing and combines a murder mystery with supernatural elements. However, like the previous two, the story is a bit convoluted, and the finale is rushed.
The famed detective returns but not by choice as he is forced out of retirement by an old friend played by Tina Fey. Based on Agatha Christie's novel “Hallowe’en Party," Fey's character challenges Poirot to help her in writing her book. She drags him to a séance at a haunted palazzo where the medium is murdered. Not one to forego a murder mystery, Hercule Poirot is on the case but this one is different in that there's a supernatural force guiding his hand. ll
Branagh reunites with his BELFAST (2021) cast Jamie Dornan and the young actor Jude Hill once again playing father and son. Tina Fey joins the fun and brings her usual charm to the role as a writer. Michelle Yeoh and Yellowstone's Kelly Reilly round out the cast. Reilly, however, is underutilized as the lady of the house, and Yeoh's screen time is minimal but effective.
Set inside a palazzo in post-World War II Venice on All Hallows’ Eve, the gothic setting is unique with cinematographer Haris Zambarloukous' lighting evoking classic noir films. The visuals are actually more intruding than the storyline.
Don't expect many scares in this light haunting with minimal scares, but the environment still has a cool gothic factor to it.
When it comes to the storyline, Poirot goes through his normal deductions but this time, he's doubting his logic as a supernatural element is introduced to the puzzle. That's what makes A HAUNTING IN VENICE stand out from the previous movies. The detective is challenged and doubting his usual reasoning.
What's jolting about the ending is the abrupt resolution. Poirot has solved the crime, and the movie comes to an end in what seemed a very short film. You feel the short run time of one hour and 40 minutes.
Regardless of its uneven storytelling, A HAUNTING IN VENICE is still a great experience on the big screen.
A HAUNTING IN VENICE is now playing in movie theaters.