25 September 2023

Crooked House

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Director: Gilles Paquet-Brenner, Roadshow Entertainment.

Cast: Glenn Close, Max Irons, Christina Hendricks, Gillian Anderson, Terence Stamp, Stefanie Martini.

It’s not surprising to see Agatha Christie mysteries being impressively cast, but this is decidedly a star-studded affair.

When a wealthy Greek patriarch Aristide Leonides dies in suspicious circumstances, his granddaughter suspects foul play. Young Sophia de Haviland (Martini) returns after the war to find her grandfather poisoned and a family filled with suspects. Luckily her fiance, Charles Hayward (Irons), is the son of the assistant commissioner of Scotland Yard. He sets out to solve the possible murder of her tycoon grandfather.

In Christie’s most twisted tale, the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of a wealthy patriarch is investigated by spy-turned-private-detective, who is lured to catch the murderer before Scotland Yard exposes dark family secrets.

On the sprawling estate, amidst a poisonous atmosphere of acrimony, anger and envy in a truly crooked house, Hayward encounters three generations of the dynasty, including a theatre actress (Anderson), the old man’s widow 50 years his junior (Hendricks) and the family matriarch Lady Edith de Haviland (Close).

With music composed by Hugo de Chaire, great effort has gone into setting up a tangled web of colorful characters, throwing in a few red herrings, setting off its dynamite and exiting while the smoke is still in the air.

Paquet-Brenner, Julian Fellowes and Tim Rose Price wrote the screenplay for this Agatha Christie adaptation of a 1949 book.

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