12 April 2019 | TheLittleSongbird
Am always up for something different, and 'Les Petits Meurtres D'Agatha Christie' is that, while using one of my all time favourite author Agatha Christie's work as a basic framework and putting a light comic twist blended with the mysteries it doesn't disgrace her. Have said more than once about not expecting one hundred percent fidelity, depending on the nature of the changes and how interesting the characters and story still are (as well as ideally being coherent and to some degree respectful).
The third adaptation of 'Sparkling Cyanide', the previous two being the decent on its own terms 1983 Anthony Andrews version and the other being the at best mediocre 2003 adaptation with Oliver Ford-Davies, "Meurtre Au Champagne" is a rare instance of an episode of this series being the best version of said story. To me, it is certainly the most enjoyable and most well made, while standing out among the other two. It is not a typically faithful adaptation as such but that wasn't an issue for me. Also consider it one of the best Laurence and Avril episodes of the series and an improvement over their introductory episode "Jeux De Glaces".
"Meurtre Au Champagne" has a lot right about it. It looks lovely as ever, the period detail and scenery are lavish but a great job is also done evoking a sinister enough atmosphere when necessary. The vibrant but never over-saturated or garish colours, that could be quite atmospheric, and stylish photography complement beautifully. The music matches the light-hearted and at times very atmospheric tone very well.
Writing is amusing and thought-provoking, and the story is compelling with it not feeling too safe or ordinary this time. It is neither over-simplified or convoluted, just right, while the denouement has the right amount of surprise. Love the character of Alice, who we also learn more about, and Blandine Bellavoir is a breath of fresh air, bringing a lot of charm, elegance and spirit that was much needed. The supporting cast do more than capably and Samuel Labarthe is a little more comfortable here.
Do still think though that Laurence is an unpleasant character and although it doesn't clash as much as in their first episode the chemistry between him and Alice has not near the same spark as with Larosiere and Lampion (the former a far more interesting character and the two gelling quite a lot faster).
In summary, very well done. 8/10