It is ironic that the #1 movie at the domestic box office on Valentine's weekend would be one where all but one relationship ends badly. If you are watching this movie with a partner, be sure to say something like, “Good thing we’re not as screwed up as these people, right?” If your partner can’t answer because they are too busy jotting down notes on how to plan the perfect murder, perhaps your relationship has run its course.
Following 2017’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” Kenneth Branagh is back as legendary Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. More importantly, Poirot’s ridiculous mustache is back, complete with its own black-and-white origin story. It’s almost, but not quite worth sitting through some lousy digital de-aging effects on Branagh to understand some of Poirot’s motivations.
The bulk of the film takes place, in color, in 1937 Egypt. Poirot is on holiday when he spies old partner Bouc (Tom Bateman). Bouc introduces Poirot to his mother Euphemia (Annette Bening) and his recently-married friends Simon (Armie Hammer) and Linnet Doyle (Gal Gadot). The Doyles request Poirot’s help in ridding them of stalker Jacqueline de Bellefort (Emma Mackey), an obsessed former lover of Simon’s. Poirot can’t do much since Jackie hasn’t committed any crime, but he does suggest that the couple sneak away in secret. Misinterpreting Poirot’s advice, the Doyles rent out a huge ocean liner and take their circle of friends (including Poirot) on a cruise down the Nile where they figure Jackie can’t follow them. Jackie boards the boat at the very next stop. Murder follows. Frustratingly, the prime suspect has an airtight alibi – they were being detained for shooting another passenger at the time.
Perhaps it was another member of the party. There’s Linnet’s own jilted former lover Dr. Windlesham (Russell Brand, for once not looking like a pirate despite the movie largely taking place on a ship), her cousin and crooked estate manager Andrew (Ali Fazal), her Communist godmother Marie (Jennifer Saunders) and Marie’s nurse Mrs. Bowers (Dawn French), scheming maid Louise (Rose Leslie), school chum Rosalie (Letitia Wright), and Rosalie’s singer aunt Salome (Sophie Okonedo). Complicating matters is that Rosalie and Salome have stolen Bouc and Poirot’s respective hearts. Which isn’t to say that Bouc and his mother are necessarily off the hook. Some expensive diamonds are missing, that alone could be the motive behind the murder, and absolutely everyone could use the money.
The movie meanders in its early stages, no doubt trying to spend as much time as possible with the full cast before someone has to be eliminated. But then we get to the really fun part – Poirot’s fast-paced interrogations. It is here where we get the film’s wittiest dialogue and best chemistry between actors. I’ve heard it said that Hammer and Gadot have no chemistry as a couple, and I think that’s a bit unfair, as public opinion of Hammer is very low right now due to accusations levelled against the actor, and I think people would be disgusted by him in any role, especially one as sensual as this. But it doesn’t take a Poirot-level detective to see that the Simon/Linnet marriage isn’t destined to last – assuming they both live long enough to split up.
Director-and-star Branagh is currently in Oscar contention for directing a semiautobiographical film called “Belfast.” It probably won’t make enough money to warrant its own review, but if did, I would give it an A- and name it one of the top two or three films of 2021. I definitely recommend seeing it instead of “Death on the Nile” if it’s an option. This movie probably won’t get nominated for any Oscars, but it at least manages to keep its head above water – the Nile, as it were.
“Death on the Nile” is rated PG-13 for violence, some bloody images and sexual material. Its running time is 127 minutes.
Contact Bob Garver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Acting State Conservationist Michael Carr of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today announced an urban agriculture focused sign-up through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). This targeted sign-up is for farmers in Biloxi (Harrison), Brandon (Rankin), Brookhaven (Lincoln), Canton (Madison), Greenville (Washington), Greenwood (Leflore), Gulfport (Harrison), Hattiesburg (Forrest), Jackson (Hinds), Natchez (Adams), Oxford (Lafayette), South Haven (Desoto), Starkville (Oktibbeha), Tupelo (Lee), and Vicksburg (Warren) counties, who are interested in producing local, healthy, sustainable food for their communities.
EQIP is a voluntary conservation program that helps producers make conservation work for them. NRCS provides agricultural producers with financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement improvements, or what NRCS calls conservation practices. “Urban farmers in Mississippi are doing some great work connecting consumers to the land that provides their food,” said Carr. “Urban conservation provides local economic and environmental benefits while providing fresh food options to communities that need them most.”
NRCS takes applications on a continuous basis, however, interested parties are encouraged to contact their local NRCS service center and apply by March 11, 2022, to be included in this application batching period. While this sign-up is limited in scope, NRCS is looking to expand urban agriculture conservation to other areas of Mississippi in the future. To begin those discussions or sign-up for a conservation program, contact your local NRCS conservationist. Be sure to check the status of your USDA Service Center when you reach out to us. For offices with restrictions on in-person appointments, we are still available by phone, email, and through other digital tools.
Through conservation programs, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to help producers and landowners make conservation improvements on their land that benefit natural resources, build resiliency, and contribute to the nation’s broader effort to combat the impacts of climate change. More broadly, these efforts build on others across USDA to encourage use of conservation practices. For example, USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) recently provided $59.5 million in premium support for producers who planted cover crops on 12.2 million acres through the new Pandemic Cover Crop Program. Last week, RMA announced a new option for insurance coverage, the Post Application Coverage Endorsement, for producers who “split apply” fertilizer on corn.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is engaged in a whole-of-government effort to combat the climate crisis and conserve and protect our nation’s lands, biodiversity and natural resources including our soil, air, and water. Through conservation practices and partnerships, USDA aims to enhance economic growth and create new streams of income for farmers, ranchers, and private foresters. Successfully meeting these challenges will require USDA and our agencies to pursue a coordinated approach alongside USDA stakeholders, including state, local and Tribal governments.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.