A Haunting in Venice has recently become available to purchase on Amazon Video. With mystery, seances and murder all crammed into a reasonably short 104 minutes, I couldn’t resist taking a trip out to see what had become of one of my favorite childhood detectives.
There exists a handful of great detectives from the world of literature that have found themselves a little place in history. With televised adaptations, these super-sleuths of fiction often get a new lease of life, a chance of rebirth and an opportunity to win over new hearts and minds; Hercules Poirot is one of these.
A Haunting in Venice sees the infamous detective come out of retirement to take on an unusually spooky case.
The Story Behind A Haunting in Venice
Set shortly after the end of World War II, A Haunting in Venice takes us to 1947 and – if you hadn’t already guessed – in the all but submerged town of Venice. Since his last adventure, seen in Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case, Hercules Poirot has been enjoying a quiet retirement. However, when his long-time friend and crime novelist, Ariadne Oliver (played by Mean Girls‘ Tina Fey), invites him to a seance in a decrepit mansion, our mustachioed hero soon finds himself entangled in a web of mystery and murder. When the bodies begin to pile up and he is forced out of retirement as his love of crime solving is called upon.
What follows is a twisting and turning journey as piece by piece, Poirot attempts to uncover the mystery afoot and find those responsible for the heinous crimes.
Kenneth Branagh Fills Big Shoes in A Haunting in Venice
Those of us lucky enough to remember the Belgian private eye, will remember a short, dapper and distinguished gentleman with a penchant for snappy dressing, walking with a cane and sporting a permanently and perfectly trimmed mustache. The chances are that you also rolled your eyes at the news that the great Sir David Suchet wouldn’t be returning to his flagship role.
At 77, the chances of the original Poirot stepping back into those polished shoes were always going to be slim to none. On first hearing the news of Poirot’s return, my first thoughts went into who could possibly replace the man himself. Despite giving quite a lot of thought to the matter, I had a few likely suspects. However, I would never have expected British actor, Kenneth Branagh (Oppenheimer), to become Suchet’s replacement and I was more than a little dubious about the fit.
Alas, I was more than happy to be proven wrong once I saw early trailers. While hardly Poirot’s doppelganger, Branagh carried off a more than meritorious performance behind that famous face fuzz. I’m no expert in world linguistics but to my untrained ear, his Poirot impression seemed to be spot-on. Not only had he nailed the accent but the serious nature of the detective was perfectly mirrored, maybe even bettered. Furthermore, Branagh’s Poirot seems far more dark and troubled, giving the character an added depth and mysticism.
A Haunting in Venice – Summary
With Branagh at the helm, Poirot is far more in-touch with the wants and needs of today’s audience. His dark and macabre portrayal sees the back of Agatha Christie’s detective as we know and love him and introduces a new Poirot, with all the usual dry wit, but carrying all the consequences of his life devoted to the dead.
In short, A Haunting in Venice will be a treat for fans of old but will open its doors to the audience of today. Packed full of twists, turns and interesting characters, this new case has all of the hallmarks of a Poirot case but modernized to be more accessible to new Poirot fans.