4YE Reviews: Everyone In The Family Could Be A Murderer In The New Adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Novels Crooked House

Credit: Sony Pictures

Kenneth Branagh’s movie adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express gets most of the attention recently, especially due to its superb cast. There is, however, another adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novels that deserves attention as well: Crooked House.

After her grandfather’s death, Sophia de Haviland (Stefanie Martini) hires the private detective Charles Hayward (Max Irons) to find out which family member has killed her beloved grandfather. She doesn’t believe he died of natural causes. Even though, he doesn’t want to take on the case, due to his and Sophia’s past, Charles begrudgingly does so anyway.

He makes his way to the family mansion where Aristide has died. There he meets the other members of the Leonides family: Lady Edith (Glenn Close), the sister of Aristide’s first wife, Sophia’s parents Philip (Julian Sands) and Madga (Gillian Anderson) Leonides, Sophia’s younger siblings Eustace (Preston Nyman) and Josephine (Honor Kneafsey), as well as Sophia’s uncle and aunt, Roger (Christian McKay) and Clemency (Amanda Abbington) Leonides and, last but not least, Aristide’s young second wife Brenda (Christina Hendricks).

All of them are potential suspects in the case, so Charles interrogates one family member after another. Young Josephine, however, seems to have already solved the mystery. She always drops some clues around Charles, of which he and the audience cannot be quite sure if they’re true or not.

Watch the trailer below and join Charles Hayward in this thrilling murder mystery:

The fact that Crooked House hasn’t gotten much attention yet is something that makes me sad. It’s a fantastic movie with a brilliant cast. I mean, someone put Glenn Close AND Gillian Anderson in one movie! That alone is enough to make any movie amazing! The characters were all very well performed. From the first moment we got introduced to them, you could already form your own opinion of each character. Plus, they all could have done it, which really isn’t surprising given Christie’s style of writing, but it did give the movie the necessary mystical theme.

The cast overall was fantastic. It didn’t matter if it were the slightly older and more experienced actors and actresses, or if it were the younger ones. Especially Honor Kneafsey who played the youngest family member, Josephine, was a joy to watch. I did love the references to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters, as she kept referring to Charles as Watson and to herself as Holmes. Despite her age, Kneafsey is already a great actress and I can see her go far in the industry.

Preston Nyman, who plays Josephine older brother, was equally as good as Kneafsey. Some of his character’s line were my favorite in the movie. He was very blunt and didn’t care how inappropriate some of his comments might be, which was hilarious, as well as refreshing to watch. Though his character had a rather small part in the movie, Nyman was able to show his talent, despite the other bigger names he appeared next to.

Obviously, I cannot forget to mention the brilliant Max Irons who played Charley Hayward in Crooked House. He couldn’t have done a better job. Charles is very relatable, especially in the beginning when we find out how he and Sophia are connected. He continues to be so in the rest of the movie and isn’t a super sleuth à la Sherlock Holmes, which made him a good character and the audience could try to solve the case realistically with him.

It took me a while to actually recognize Gillian Anderson in this,. Since she was wearing a black wig, which, however, fitted her well. Though, once I did, I couldn’t be more impressed with her acting and the way she portrayed Magda Leonides was fantastic. The character itself was quite realistic. She was one of those actresses who thinks too much of herself and who makes her children call her by her first name, so she wouldn’t feel so old. Overall, a great character played by an even greater actress.

We all know that Glenn Close is one of the most amazing actresses there are and she proves that to us once more in her portrayal as Lady Edith. I really liked Lady Edith in the movie and obviously Glenn Close’s performance of her as well. Right when you get introduced to her, you know there’s something about her that you can’t put a finger on and Close exceptionally is at it being like that. You never really questioned her motifs either, yet you found her a little odd in her behavior as well. The fact that she also seemed to dislike most of the members of the family, seems to make her the perfect murderer and in a Christie-esque move, you don’t know if she did it or not.

At last, I also have to mention Amanda Abbington, who is mostly known for her role as Mary Morstan/Watson in BBC’s Sherlock. While we fell in love with her as that, the character she played in Crooked House is totally different. Clemency is a very dominant woman who sometimes seems to be very frustrated with her husband and the life they’re leading. Until the end, I had a rather big suspicion that she might be the murderer as she would have fit the profile. Abbington’s rather cold performance of her clearly added to my suspicion and the actress couldn’t have been better.

All in all, Crooked House is a brilliant movie that does not fail to shock you immensely in the end – you’re warned now! Visit the official website to find out where you can watch the movie on demand.

Anna Hattingen