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Agatha and the Truth of Murder

UK 2018
produced by
Brett Wilson, Sebastian Cardwell (executive), Emily Dalton (executive), Tom Dalton (executive), Chamoun Issa (executive) for DSP/Kew Media Group, Channel 5
directed by Terry Loane
starring Ruth Bradley, Pippa Haywood, Bebe Cave, Ralph Ineson, Luke Pierre, Joshua Silver, Samantha Spiro, Tim McInnerny, Blake Harrison, Dean Andrews, Brian McCardie, Michael McElhatton, Seamus O'Hara, Derek Halligan, Liam McMahon, Amelia Dell, Clare McMahon, Richard Doubleday, Stacha Hicks
written by Tom Dalton, music by Andrew Simon McAllister

Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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It's 1926, and Agatha Christie's (Ruth Bradley) is pretty much in tatters. Sure, her career as a mystery novelist is going strong, but her novels have over the years become more and more predictable, and of late she's lacking inspiration. On top of that, her husband (Liam McMahon) has been cheating on her and wants a divorce, which she won't give in to, still loving him madly. For advice she turns to fellow mystery novelist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Michael McElhatton), but all he suggests is for her to design golf courses and build her novels on that experience - something that experiences a damper as soon as she tries to sell a golf course she has designed and is turned down on grounds of being a woman. On her low point she's visited by Mabel Rogers (Pippa Haywood), a nurse who asks her to help her solving the murder of fellow nurse (and also secretly girlfriend) Florence Nightingale Shore (Stacha Hicks) - an actual person by the way and the goddaughter of the Florence Nightingale -, a big-hearted woman who was brutally slaughtered on her trainride home one night. So Agatha and Mabel make up a scheme to gather all the suspects of the murder in a mansion under a false pretense - a vast inheritance - and question them in a roundabout way, with Agatha posing as an insurance agent. The scheme doesn't go great from the start, but really experiences a dent when Wade (Dean Andrews), their key suspect, is shot dead, the police in person of Detective Inspector Dicks (Ralph Ineson) is called onto the case, and of all people Mabel is arrested as the key suspect in the mruder. Agatha bluffs her way through the affair with some success, but it's really when she comes clean with the inspector about her true identity and the two compare notes, that they actually manage to make progress ...

 

Agatha and the Truth of Murder, a completely speculative movie about Agatha Christie's actual disappearance for 11 days in 1926, is somewhat of a meta movie - but not so much due to its mere subject matter, but because it does not try to pretend to ape Christie's style of writing mysteries but actually presents the most obvious choice as the culprit and presents the story more like a learning curve for the (fictionalized) writer herself. But nevertheless, this is also a film that's sure to strike a chord with fans of traditional whodunnits as all the genre elements are in place, from a cornucopia of eccentric suspects to a mansion to prowl about, from the resolute woman to the stern but fair inspector - it's just that these elements, without betraying the genre, are put together in a slightly different way, to give the story an extra layer. And a fittingly old-fashioned directorial effort and a strong cast really make this a very pleasant watch for all mystery fans.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
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starring
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out now on DVD