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Blu-ray Review: Crooked House

0383_Crooked House_Photo Nick Wall.RAF

This review is by my Mum and she has read the Agatha Christie book many times.

The pleasure of any Agatha Christie film is the line up of great actors, young and old. The new adaptation is no exception. Adapted for screen by writer Julian Fellowes (Downtown Abbey, Gosford Park) it features Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy), Terence Stamp (Big Eyes, Song for Marion), Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, The Fall, Bleak House), Amanda Abbington (Sherlock, Mr Selfridge), and Christina Hendricks (Mad Men, Drive).

In this classic Agatha Christie detective story, former diplomat Charles Hayward has returned from Cairo to London to become a private detective. When Aristide Leonides, a wealthy and ruthless tycoon, is poisoned in his own bed, Detective Hayward is invited to solve the crime. As the investigation deepens he must confront the shocking realisation that one of the key suspects is Aristede’s beautiful granddaughter, his employer and former lover; and must keep a clear head to navigate the sultry Sophia and the rest of her hostile family.

It is 1957 and living with the very wealthy Aristide Leonidas are his two sons, Roger (Christian McKay) and Philip (Julian Sands) along with their wives and families. There is also an elderly aunt, Lady Edit de Haviland (Glenn Close) and last but not least, Aristide’s wife of ten years, Brenda, played by Christina Hendricks looking like her character from Mad Men.

I have never understood why characters, so well written by Agatha Christie, get changed for the films. It is the same for Philip’s wife, Magda (Gillian Anderson). In the book, she thinks she is a great actress starring in every scene, center stage. In the film, she disappears behind her black straight hair.

The story is driven by Charles Haywood (Max Irons) helping the police and hoping to win the heart of Sophia, the granddaughter of Aristide. As with any Agatha Christie story, there is more than one murder and the ending is a great surprise unless, of course, you have read the book.

The film was enjoyable, but slow in places and some scenes seemed to have been added purely to remind us that the film was set in the 1950s. The change in some of the characters also jarred, but if you have not read the book then that will not matter. The costumes were gorgeous and, on the whole, the acting was great. Glenn Close was excellent as was Julian Sands, ad Honor Kneafsey as Josephine Leonides. As for Terence Stamp….he just played Terence Stamp, which is never a bad thing.

On the whole this was a perfect murder mystery for a cold, wet evening.

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