Movie Review: A Haunting in Venice 2023

Introduction

Kenneth Branagh’s latest Agatha Christie adaptation, A Haunting in Venice, is a sumptuous and atmospheric mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end. The film is loosely based on Christie’s 1969 novel Hallowe’en Party, but Branagh and screenwriter Michael Green have made some significant changes to the story, setting it in Venice during the 1930s and adding a supernatural element.

Scenario

The film stars Branagh as Hercule Poirot, the world-famous Belgian detective. Poirot is invited to Venice by his friend and colleague, Lady Windlesham (Judi Dench), to attend a séance at the Palazzo Grassi. The séance is being hosted by a wealthy American socialite, Mrs. Ezra Folliott (Annette Bening), who is convinced that her house is haunted by the ghost of her dead husband.

A Haunting in Venice

Story

Poirot is initially skeptical of Mrs. Folliott’s claims. But he soon finds himself caught up in a web of mystery and intrigue. During the séance, a young woman named Alicia Gore (Lucy Boynton) is murdered. Poirot must use all of his skills to uncover the killer and solve the mystery of the haunted house.

A Haunting in Venice is a beautifully shot film. Branagh and cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos capture the beauty and mystery of Venice perfectly. The film’s production design is also top-notch, with the Palazzo Grassi and its surrounding canals looking absolutely stunning.

Cast

The film’s cast is excellent. Branagh is once again superb as Poirot, bringing his intelligence and wit to the role. Dench is also excellent as Lady Windlesham, and Bening is deliciously over-the-top as Mrs. Folliott. Boynton is also good as Alicia, and she has good chemistry with Armie Hammer, who plays her fiancé, Patrick.

The film’s supernatural element is well-handled. Branagh doesn’t go overboard with the scares, but he does create a sense of unease and tension throughout the film. The film’s climax is also well-done, with a satisfying twist that will leave you guessing until the very end.

A Haunting in Venice

Analysis

Here is a more detailed analysis of the film’s strengths and weaknesses:

Strengths:

  • Stunning visuals: The film is beautifully shot, with Branagh and cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos capturing the beauty and mystery of Venice perfectly.
  • Excellent cast: Branagh is once again superb as Poirot. He’s supported by a strong cast that includes Judi Dench, Annette Bening, Lucy Boynton, and Armie Hammer.
  • Well-handled supernatural element: Branagh doesn’t go overboard with the scares. But he does create a sense of unease and tension throughout the film.
  • Satisfying twist ending: The film’s climax is well-done. It has a satisfying twist that will leave you guessing until the very end.
A Haunting in Venice

Weaknesses:

  • Slow pacing: The film’s pacing is a bit slow at times, especially in the first half.
  • Some underdeveloped characters: Some of the supporting characters are not as well-developed.
  • Predictable plot twists: Some of the film’s plot twists are a bit predictable. Even for those who are not familiar with the original novel.

Conclusion

Overall, A Haunting in Venice is a well-made and enjoyable mystery film. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly worth watching, especially for fans of Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot.

Official Trailer

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