Dec 27, 2023Liked by Christopher Snowdon

Just watched it. Great film, though Maggie Smith does outshine everyone, and the shoehorning of her into as many bits of it as possible is a little too obvious. There isn't much crackle about any of the non-Maggie scenes.

Plot doesn't really work, though I think (without having read the original in ages) it's mostly that the psychological surprise isn't as perfect as it is in the book - the reversal that's totally unexpected, but, once seen, inevitable. Christie's never going to be appreciated by the sort of person who reads whodunnits in order to be able to guess in advance who dunnit, but adapters have to be really careful in altering the rhythm of her stories even a little bit. The murder(s), and ultimately the hanging(s), and the horror of them, have to be central - and they aren't in this adaptation.

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Agatha Christie plots always involve some wild stroke of luck or oversight, don’t they? It sounds like she wrote this starting from “what if.. you saw what you thought was a dead body on a beach but it was actually someone else and they were still alive but the being seen gives you the perfect alibi even though you did it or will do it?”

Also not answered here: why would Patrick kill the victim? I may have paid too little attention (ignored warnings, haven’t seen the second film) but it seems odd unless she had some wowzer blackmail, which I suppose is always a good plot device.

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