I am ashamed to admit that I have never read an Agatha Christie book. I had tried to read one long ago when I was probably too young for such, and since then I’ve stayed away. Which is something I need to remedy soon. However, I loved Agatha Christie’s Poirot TV series. David Suchet was amazing, and while I didn’t read the books, it seemed that everyone who ever has said he fit the part perfectly. After years of watching him play Poirot, it’s hard to imagine anyone else doing so, even though there have been plenty of others that have. I’ve seen a few of the older versions, and Suchet is still just the best if for no other reason than he’s a great actor and made Poirot’s quirks loveable. One of the things I believe made him such a great detective was that he had empathy for others. Even at times showing himself as a romantic at heart, while never actually being one to date. Which was ultimately why I hated his version of Murder on the Orient Express.
There was Poirot being overly cold and calculating. To him the law is the law, no matter what. It starts out with him solving a crime, and obviously not caring why someone may have done such and not caring about the consequences of revealing the culprit. He furthermore didn’t care that a woman was about to be stoned, simply because she knew the law and chose to break it. Even if the crime wouldn’t be one that any other country would convict for, much less stone someone for.
This over emphasis on his caring only for the law, and his supposedly seeing everything in black and white, especially in comparison to his past cases and how he handled them, it was blindingly obvious that ultimately he was going to be in doubt as to whether the law was right and would possibly be even willing to let the perpetrator go. Between the obviousness of the plot and seeing a beloved character suddenly act so out of character, I actually barely made it past the murder before turning it off. It wasn’t worth my time.
Now here’s this new man that doesn’t look like Poirot, especially with this over the top mustache. Knowing how much I didn’t enjoy the one with Suchet, I knew there was just no way I was going to like this one. How wrong I was, and I’m glad I did finally watch it. We actually get to see Poirot solving the case that was only barely referenced in Suchet’s, and we get to see him doing so in a way that was professional, but not cold. It was simply him showing his brilliance. Instead of emphasizing the law always being right no matter what, this Poirot merely showed how he needed balance in all things. That he sees the world as it should be, and anything that is off is painfully obvious to him. It shows a man that cares about what is right and wrong, that laws matter, but not necessarily that that’s all that matters. Which makes for a better Poirot, and a better movie. So I suppose I’m saying, that while David Suchet was a great Poirot, Kenneth Branagh did a good job as well, and I hope to see more with him in it.
Also his mustache wasn’t too bad in the end, and surprisingly might actually fit with how it was described in the books. I guess I’ll have to read them to find out for myself.