I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Awesome Adaptations (17) - Hercule Poirot's Christmas

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,

Awesome Adaptations is a weekly bookish meme, hosted at Alisa Selene’s books blog, Picturemereading.  Anyone can play along! Each week there is a new category of adaptation to blog about. Any format (television series, film, web series, etc.) is acceptable as long as it is based in some form on a book. If you’re playing along on your own blog, just mention Picturemereading in your post and include the banner above. Let them know which film you’d pick and why it is an awesome adaptation worth watching. Oh, and don’t forget to share the link to your own post in the comments for that week’s challenge so that everyone can read your thoughts!

An awesomely festive adaptation
Title: Hercule Poirot's Christmas
Adapted from Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie

Murder.  So festive, right?  At least for Poirot it means having a warm house to reside in over the holidays.  And he can observe family interactions up close and personal.  It's not an ideal family - the house he is staying in belongs to an extremely rich, miserly, miserable old fellow with children (some illegitimate) who dislike him.  And in-laws who dislike him.  And then Poirot doesn't even like him that much.  But fortunately for him, Poirot likes it worse when people murder.

This adaptation starts in Africa - already revealing some important backstory to the characters that we don't find out about in the book in quite the same way.  This sets up certain expectations and foreshadows events to come.  It changes the structure of the mystery slightly, making it easier to understand the solution when it is given.  This adaptation also drops a few family characters and use Inspector Japp as Poirot's right-hand man.  Japp introduces a little family element for Poirot who in the show doesn't seem to have anyone around.  The changes don't detract from the adaptation, because there is still an attention to detail and fantastic character portrayals to highlight this entertaining and puzzling mystery.

There are a slew of mysterious characters with various motivations and backgrounds that this film takes care to properly set-up without weighing down the pace, and David Suchet as Poirot (as always!) captures the brilliant Belgian detective with nuance and aplomb, showcasing the poignancy of his lonely genius in the scenes at home and when he is opening his gift from Inspector Japp.  There's one moment that I love, when Harry Lee makes the standard assumption that Poirot is French, and Poirot says "No," so quickly it was like he was expecting him to say it, and so quietly because he knew it didn't matter at all to Harry.  David Suchet, you are so amazing as Poirot.

Overall, I think the mystery and this adaptation is a wonderful treat to watch during the holidays - not particularly because it is warm and fuzzy (but at least your family can't be this bad), but because with Poirot you realize the inescapable impact of family amidst all the emotional baggage.

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  1. Love this episode! :) Great choice!

    1. Thanks! I had to re-watch it recently so I could write about it and it was great seeing it again. :)

    2. We re watched it on Christmas Eve this year!