Agatha Christie has enjoyed immense popularity through the years. Recently, her stories are seeing revivals with the launch of several mini-series. One of them is The ABC Murders, a story that’s dark in tradition and untraditional ways.
The ABC Murders (2019) Amazon Prime Review
For some time now, Hercule Poirot (John Malkovich) has been the recipient of letters. Letters that taunt him and promise something sinister is to come. The newest letter reveals the time is now. A former inspector, Hercule knows the art of investigating, but as a man now on the outside, he’s no longer a valued opinion. The letter sends Hercule to the police where a young generation is now in charge, and his former colleagues also retired. Without anyone to take him seriously, the older, but still wise Poirot takes on the perpetrator himself.
With little to go on, all he knows is the would-be murderer identifies himself as A.B.C., and as the clues pile up, he sees that this person, somehow, knows about Poirot’s past; a past that quickly begins to define the mysteries headline-catching “ABC Murders.”
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Of Christie’s popular detectives, Miss Marple is the one who I’ve solved the most cases with. From the ITV mysteries (which ran for six series) Marple to the older BBC productions, I’ve seen plenty. But recently with the big-screen adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, I’ve had the pleasure to meet Hercule Poirot. This is why when I saw Amazon was to adapt another of the Poirot mysteries I knew it’d be something I’d tune in to watch.
This drama is darker than the typical Christie adaptation, but in the way of its exploration of human nature. It explores the feelings of a person’s usefulness, and examines the dark side of one human’s nature. The complexities the story dives into is both interesting (in light of the former) and terrifying (the latter). Poirot’s characterization is interesting in this script, and one I don’t think I’ve really seen before. Malkovich plays the role quite well from a cinematic perspective, though by the book, I cannot judge. Because of the stage of life this story places him in. His task is to play the role with the skills of a once revered detective to the delicate conclusion that no one now wants his opinion. This he accomplishes.
Also among the cast is Shirley Henderson, Tara Fitzgerald and Rupert Grint, who many will remember from the Harry Potter franchise; though now he’s all grown up. While everyone plays their roles with conviction, there’s really no one that stands out to me. Likely in part because it’s Poirot whom the story and therefore, the camera follows.
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The script is strong, and builds a decent set up for the reveal in the third and final installment. In the interim, we go on a twisty, sometimes creepy road towards that final wind up. There’s an edge to this mystery that’s more intellectual sinister than visual; it’s a direction that many of Christie’s newer adaptations seem to take. Whether it’s And Then There Were None (which I still find creepy) or Ordeal by Innocence (a unique, but also twisted drama), there’s not much that’s “cozy” about these interpretations.
If you like darker mysteries with shades of ambiguity and morally gray characters, then these adaptations should be queued. Of those I’ve seen, they’re each produced extremely well, and always feature a cast dripping with talent. The ABC Murders (2019) is no exception. It’s done very well, and leaves us satisfied if not wholly happy.From #AmazonPrime, you can now watch their adaptation of #AgathaChristie's The ABC Murders (2019) – An Impressive New Mystery Click To Tweet
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Content: there’s a few instances that depict graphic murders (lots of blood, how a weapon is used). Some sexual innuendo (one girl prostitutes herself for money), and a suggestive scene of a couple in bed before the camera cuts away. There’s also some profanity. The series is TV-14, appropriately so.