The Crime pages and groups are still full of comment on ‘that’ ABC Murders adaptation and it makes for interesting reading.
Regular readers of my blog will know that I seldom review tv or film – but here goes…
On the whole I found the ABC Murders was good. Perhaps some OTT acting here and there but not enough to get in the way. The basics of the original story were in place, with a few tweaks; specifically the absence of both Japp and Hastings from the proceedings. I know some people were incensed by their omission, but one expects such changes from any adaptation as the writer seeks to make their mark.
That aside I personally rate this recent production as being ‘good’ but not ‘great’. I rate it as ‘good’ because in the realms of mind-bogglingly bad adaptations it would not even feature in my top twenty. The majority of the toe-curling versions that slithered out of Hollywood in (mostly) the 1970s and 1980s fill that list and more. (I reserve a special place in cinema hell for Finney’s vision of the great detective – just my humble opinion).
But neither is this recent adaptation by Sarah Phelps ‘great. It will never make my top five or even ten. The main reason for that being Phelp’s adding of her own imagined backstory for Poirot. It didn’t fit well with me in regard to the character as drawn by Christie (IMHO) and was at best a distraction. It got in the way. Most people don’t want or need Poirot to be re-invented.
Malkovich put in a great performance as always and Poirot as traumatised priest was not of his manufacture.
I am not alone in finding this re-inventing tiresome by any means. It appears to be the main reason why people are up in arms. I know there are people who will disagree and see the show as visionary – but I am not always convinced that old stories need this kind of treatment.
Leaving aside the re-inventing of Poirot it was not a bad show overall, just not as great as it might have been.