27 December 2018 | VoyagerMN1986
Agatha Christie plus John Malkovich should be a "10" but there are too many flaws
Firstly this is certainly mostly watchable.
Secondly I guess I will be downvoted by some since this is likely an adaption that will create a divide between people who love it or hate it, or at least those who like it a lot or not at all, and I am in the middle.
In short some of the lower reviews are because this is great material, and the lead is a great actor, and yet this is a just a passable say a "fair to good" or what we stateside would call a "C+" to "B-"
Really does Christie portray the police so badly? (Correct Answer: No.) Would she have so many anachronistic behaviors and character attributes? No. Would she have native Francophone Belgian Poirot speak lousy French? No and Malkovich has impeccable French and seems to have been directed to speak French badly.
It isn't so much that that the series is terrible, it isn't. It is a) expectations should be high and the end product is mediocre, and b) one senses an intentional distancing from the source material -- which is often ok, but in this case the distancing does not work. This adaption doesn't just have condensations of the material -- it has added quirks and elements that not only are not in the Christie story, but detract from it. They create a different Poirot. Not different as in Suchet vs Malkovich portrayals, but the director/screenwriter vs Christie. EG, the bizarre overlay of immigration themes/controversy is a pointless attempt to score points and doesn't belong in this story. Adding a grittiness, and a literal darkness is not needed either. It seems a fashionable trope now, but there is no need when the original material already has its own texture that the adaptor obfuscates or fundamentally distracts from with their own vision. It is over the top.
Look I am all for adapting major literary/cultural archetypes, even subverting them -- in what they do and what the moral tale is. It is perfectly OK to tell two completely different morals with Prometheus, Daedalus or Electra and Orestes. Byron can subvert Mill on the former. Homer, Sophocles, Euripides, Graves and Williams can use the latter to very different conclusions. But you don't just take a relatively contemporary character, created by another artist and change their characteristics to the point where they are unrecognizable and their actions are not credible.
Again, it s a C+ to B-, bring on the downvotes if you must. Oh and turn up the brightness on your screen, for some reason the adaptors think making everything actually dark equals a figurative darkness.