Agatha Christie is one of the most famous authors of detective novels and her most famous character is undoubtedly the detective Hercule Poirot. That’s why Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot adaptations have been met with great interest from Christie fans and crime fiction lovers. But why do people hate Branagh type of Hercule Poirot? If you want to find out, keep scrolling.
Who is Hercule Poirot?
Hercule Poirot is a fictional Belgian detective created by British writer Agatha Christie. He’s one of Christie’s most famous and long-lived characters, appearing in 33 novels, two plays (Black Coffee and Alibi) and more than 50 short stories. He first appeared in Christie’s 1920 novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles and maintained his existence until his last appearance in Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case in 1975, when he died at the end of the novel from complications of a heart condition.
He first came to prominence with Christie’s 1926 novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which remains one of the most famous crime novels ever written. Other well-known novels by the author in which Poirot appeared include Murder on the Orient Express, The ABC Murders, Cards on the Table and Death on the Nile.
In addition to Kenneth Branagh, the prominent detective Poirot has been portrayed by various actors, including Austin Trevor, John Moffatt, Albert Finney, Peter Ustinov, Ian Holm, Tony Randall, Alfred Molina, Orson Welles, David Suchet and John Malkovich.
Kenneth Branagh has adapted two novels by Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express, released in 2017, and Death on the Nile, released in 2022. In both films, Branagh played the role of Hercule Poirot.
What Is Kenneth Branagh Known For?
Kenneth Branagh has received numerous awards, including six BAFTA Awards, two Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, two Olivier Awards, nominations for a Grammy Award and three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and an Academy Award out of eight nominations in seven categories. He’s known for acting in and directing several Shakespeare plays, including Hamlet (1996), Othello (1995), Henry V (1989), Much Ado About Nothing (1993) and As You Like It (2006).
He’s also known for his role as Professor Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In addition, Branagh starred in two of Nolan’s films: Dunkirk and Tenet. The actor also directed and starred in the horror film Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Since his filmography as an actor, director and voice actor is very diverse, it’s impossible to list all the projects in which he participated. However, we should mention that the artist recently directed and starred in the aforementioned film Death on the Nile and will star in the upcoming film Oppenheimer.
Why People Criticize Kenneth Branagh’s Agatha Christie Adaptations?
Even though Kenneth Branagh’s first Poirot adaptation, Murder on the Orient Express in 2017, was a box office success, people still criticize Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot. But why?
Well, the first reason is that die-hard Agatha Christie fans believe Branagh changed so much about the story. Therefore, they say, the director hasn’t stayed true to the novels. This, of course, isn’t to the liking of Christie fans, because they want the film adaptations to be exactly like the original story.
However, there’s also a counter opinion on this subject. As is well known, Agatha Christie’s novels, written in the mid-20th century, were criticized for their racist and orientalist elements, not to mention xenophobia and colonialism existing in her novels. Therefore, to film such stories in today’s world, a director should be sensitive to the above issues. According to the BBC, Kenneth Branagh “notably tried to update the source material in this respect, both through casting and the substance of the script.” Although Christie’s fans consider the change of the story as disloyalty to the author, it’s not possible to strictly adapt a rather old story to the world of the 21st century.
The second reason people criticize Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot is that they believe the director focused too much on the character in both movies instead of telling the actual story. For example, in Death on the Nile, Branagh provided the audience with an expository narrative about Poirot and gave away “unnecessary” details about him instead of focusing on the main plot, a murder in that sense.
In summary, Kennet Branagh’s Hercule Poirot adaptations received mixed reviews from audiences but were generally criticized by fans of Agatha Christie.