The ABC Murders Image
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58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

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4.6

Mixed or average reviews- based on 16 Ratings

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  • Summary: Set in 1933, an older Hercule Poirot (John Malkovich) receives letters threatening murder but the new Inspector (Rupert Grint) dismisses the Belgian detective's help in this latest three-part BBC adaptation of Agatha Christie's novel.
  • Genre(s): Drama, Movie/Mini-Series, Suspense
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 10
  2. Negative: 2 out of 10
  1. Entertainment Weekly
    Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Jan 28, 2019
    83
    The '30s period details are lavishly spot-on and Malkovich, with his graying goatee and thick-as-bearnaise accent, gives the character a haunted, beady-eyed intensity. It may be a bit leisurely paced for some, but armchair whodunit junkies will enjoy this workout for their "little gray Cells." [1/8 Feb 2019, p.85]
  2. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Feb 1, 2019
    80
    Thanks to this engaging--and slyly timely--adaptation of Christie’s 1936 novel, it ably earns first-runner-up status. ... Poirot’s arrogance, of course, remains. Yet in Malkovich’s skillful hands, the detective is a more detached and interior genius, destabilized by his shaky professional standing and, also, by the long-ago catastrophe that made him who he is today.
  3. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Jan 31, 2019
    70
    An elaborately fleshed-out Poirot history is the most audacious aspect of this “ABC Murders,” which, as the original dictates, abounds in red herrings and overly broad supporting characters. ... No one will ever call Mr. Malkovich a minimalist, but he does strip away the customary flamboyance, thus making Poirot new.
  4. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Jan 28, 2019
    58
    Malkovich’s detective lacks his spirit. ... This detective is subdued, almost meek. He is an imposter.
  5. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Feb 1, 2019
    40
    The ABC Murders is Phelps’s most thorough teardown yet, and this time she’s so suffocatingly revisionist that what’s left isn’t really Christie at all. The insistence on making everything grimmer and grosser is almost comically complete. ... Phelps is so focused on her combination of chic malaise and sensationalism that she doesn’t give the actors anything human to play, or anything witty to play with.
  6. Reviewed by: Allison Keene
    Jan 31, 2019
    40
    Too many liberties were taken with its structure to make it work as well as it should, and the dark, dull tone is a disappointment.
  7. Reviewed by: Sophie Gilbert
    Feb 4, 2019
    30
    While everyone else is hamming it up playing monstrous psychopaths on an operatic scale, Malkovich wafts glumly from scene to scene, his facial expressions rarely more animated than someone trying to do long division in his head. ... It’s difficult to imagine what Phelps is trying to achieve by making her series so viscerally icky, and so intent on stirring things--and people--up.

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 4
  2. Negative: 1 out of 4
  1. Feb 19, 2019
    5
    At first, I genuinely hated it but it definitely grew on me as time went on. I still feel that it was way too overly sexualized and that GrintAt first, I genuinely hated it but it definitely grew on me as time went on. I still feel that it was way too overly sexualized and that Grint was criminally underused but I also appreciated the new take on Poirot. And Malkovich's performance grew on me as time went on. So much so that I wouldn't mind seeing more of him as Poirot. Expand
  2. Feb 4, 2019
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. If you have no familiarity with this story or the Agatha Christie characters associated with it, you may enjoy it as a stand alone tale. For those who have a history with the Poirot series, enjoyment requires suspending association with other stories in the collection.

    Every translation from book to screen - and every remake - takes liberties. But, unless Netflix has decided to simply eschew the legions of Agatha Christie's readers in favor of those who've never encountered the best selling novelist of all time, then with The ABC Murders they've overreached.

    It's one thing to modify some bits of a story line or present a characterization of an elder Poirot that is arguably out of sync with the Poirot throughout the series. {spoiler alert} But seriously, to directly state no one in Belgium could vouch for his existence prior to WWII and that Japp retired from Scotland Yard out of favor, due to his association with Poirot - that requires anyone familiar with the other novels to suspend any notion of continuity to the other stories.

    I rank it 5 as a stand alone movie - for those with no previous familiarity with the story or the characters. If you're a fan of Christie and/or Poirot and are hoping to see an enhanced or expanded movie version of this familiar novel, it's already been done better and certainly with greater continuity. From that perspective I'd rank it 3.
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  3. Feb 3, 2019
    4
    Read the Slant Magazine critique. The short TV serie has a beautiful photography, totally ruined by clichéd characters, ludicrous plotRead the Slant Magazine critique. The short TV serie has a beautiful photography, totally ruined by clichéd characters, ludicrous plot exposition and background and a very average Malkovitch performance (his French still sucks!). Expand
  4. Feb 19, 2019
    0
    A blasphemy and abomination for any true fan of Hercule Poirot. Kenneth Branagh was awful in 'Murder on the Orient Express' but Malkovitch'sA blasphemy and abomination for any true fan of Hercule Poirot. Kenneth Branagh was awful in 'Murder on the Orient Express' but Malkovitch's performance here is a new low. He turned the delightful, and flamboyant Poirot into a dour, off-putting loner. How did Agatha Christe's estate allow this? Expand