25 September 2023

Crooked House

Start the conversation

Reviewed by Victor Rebikoff.

Director: Gilles Paquet-Brenner, Brilliant Films & Sony Pictures, PG 115 Minutes.

Following Kenneth Branagh’s highly successful remake of ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ in 2017 penned by the renowned British authoress Agatha Christie, comes the adaptation of her 1949 murder mystery Crooked House book to the big screen.

In many of Christie’s popular publications there are always plenty of suspects, especially where a wealthy Greek patriarch Aristide Leonides dies in suspicious circumstances and whose relatives reside in the ‘Crooked House’ – considered her most twisted tale to date.

The story opens with the granddaughter of the late tycoon, Sophia (Stefani Martini -TV’s ‘Prime Suspect’) hiring Charles Hayward (Max Irons –‘Woman in Gold’), a 1940’s private detective, to investigate the late Aristide’s murder by a member of his dysfunctional family.

Hayward reluctantly agrees to take on the case having earlier engaged in a brief affair with Sophia in Cairo, but only after acquiring the endorsement of Scotland Yard’s Chief Inspector Taverner (Terence Stamp –‘Big Eyes’).

And so begins his investigation by interrogating each of the family members commencing with Lady Edith (Glenn Close –‘Low Down’), sister of Aristide’s first wife, then his eldest son Philip (Julian Sands –‘The Chosen’) and intoxicated wife, Magda (Gillian Anderson –‘Viceroy’s House’).

This is followed by Aristide’s younger son, Roger (Christian McKay –‘Creditors’) and domineering wife Clemency (Amanda Abbington -TV’s ‘Sherlock’), Aristide’s second wife Brenda (Christina Hendricks –‘Dark Places’) who is secretly having an affair with Lawrence Brown (John Heffernan -TV’s ‘Dickensian’) the Leonides children’s private tutor.

Of the two younger children there is the precocious Josephine (Honor Kneafsey –‘The Bookshop’), who eavesdrops on the family and who has a nanny (Jenny Galloway –‘London Road’) who keeps a notebook which leads Hayward to the murderer’s identity and a surprising conclusion.

Despite some grand settings for the Leonides estate, not to mention the splendour of the English countryside, director Paquet-Brenner has been unable to fully capitalise on his all-star cast to consummate a rather complicated storyline.

Apart from its slow pace the movie is entertaining in parts mainly due to the performances of Irons (son of legendary actor Jeremy), Close and Stamp and still maintains Christie’s clever whodunit style.

Vic’s Verdict: 3 Stars

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.