DATELINE: New Version of Classic Tale
Amazon Studio has produced a 2019 remake of the ABC Murders by the foremost crime novelist. Alas, this version of the classic story is libel against the author and defamation against Hercule Poirot.
Go back to watch last century’s episode with David Suchet.
This time we have John Malkovich with shaved head and imperial beard. This is not as offensive as the handlebar mustache of Kenneth Branagh recently in Murder on the Orient Express. It is, however, the victim of Just for Men: yeah, Hercule colors it, sometimes.
This mystery is in three parts that grow increasingly distant from the Christie canon. You may well ask who is meant to be audience for such a tale: it offends the millions of diehard fans who know what to expect, and it misleads new younger fans from what Christie is all about.
There is no humor, no clever twists, no plot maneuvers. here. By the third episode, you may well drift away. Worse yet, this is an aging Poirot in 1933 who has no Inspector Japp, no Miss Lemon, and no Captain Hastings, to help him.
Indeed, he must deal with a new Scotland Yard detective who is unsympathetic and hostile. Disrespect of a senior who was once glorified for his achievements may be an interesting idea, but not here.
The cast features Eamon Farren who has impressed us in previous roles as a most peculiar bad guy. Here, he is either suffering a brain tumor, or has played NFL football. It’s the 21st century—and you know what excuses murder nowadays.
We had no idea that there was so much kinky-dinky stuff in Agatha Christie, and neither did she.
Also aboard is Rupert Grint, though he has aged worse than Malkovich’s Poirot.
This Poirot is not fastidious, prissy, or clever. One character notes that he walks like he has sore feet, though we never see that foible.
What a disappointment, or do we mean travesty of the original story?