This set agitated Judge Jim Thomas' little grey cells most adequately.
Our reviews of Agatha Christie's Poirot: Classic Crimes Collection (published June 12th, 2006), Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Definitive Collection (published November 3rd, 2008), Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Movie Collection, Set 5 (published July 21st, 2010), Great Detectives Anthology (published January 6th, 2011), Poirot: Death On The Nile (published January 3rd, 2005), Poirot: Murder On The Orient Express (Blu-Ray) (published October 26th, 2010), Poirot: Series 2 (Blu-ray) (published February 16th, 2012), Poirot: Series 4 (published April 16th, 2012), Poirot: Series 6 (published October 4th, 2012), and Poirot: Series 1 (Blu-ray) (published January 5th, 2012) are also available.
Poirot: "I need to think."
Acorn Media brings us Poirot's latest adventures from the long-running ITV series in Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Movie Collection, Set 6; three tales of murder and mystery from the master…
• "Three Act Tragedy"
In some respects, this is the weakest of the three, but the overall weakness is balanced by the unexpected strength of the conclusion, not just in terms of the writing and acting, but also the directing.
• "The Clocks"
Inspector: "This thing is getting more complicated by the
Poirot is, of course, correct. This episode also features a lovely scene in which Poirot is trapped in the audience of a mystery play; his expression as he anticipates every line and plot twist is priceless.
• "Hallowe'en Party"
Poirot: "Inspector, might I ask one more question."
How is it that this series, now in its twelfth season, continues to keep our attention? Based on this latest offering, the answer is simple: stellar acting combined with exquisite production values. In front of the camera, there simply are no weak links; even the smallest character is brought to life with care and nuance. The production design is equally uncompromising—the opening scenes of "Hallowe'en Party" is a case study in using lighting and sound to create a mood. If any of today's poseur horror directors could manage a fraction of the skill on display in the first five minutes, modern horror would be a much richer genre.
Of course, there is David Suchet, who simply is Poirot to a degree that no other actor has been able to achieve. The character could easily become a walking collection of tics and eccentricities, but Suchet incorporates them so effortlessly into the performance that they come across as a natural expression of character, and not just an annoying affectation. Hell, as he begins to lay out the solution in "Hallowe'en Party," Suchet manages to deliver the hoary line "It was a dark and stormy night" in such a way that we don't giggle at the cliché. Now that's an accomplishment. The key to Suchet's performance is that for all his intellect, he is a man of fierce passion. Those passions are generally only hinted at, but they do burst forth on occasion, whether in compassion for a victim, or outrage at a criminal.
Happily, the technical aspects are on a par with the stories. The video isn't perfect, but it's pretty good. Outdoor scenes are solid, but with obvious grain. Where the video really shines, though, is the interiors, which are lighted and framed with exquisite care. The stereo track has strong imaging, using the lower registers nicely for music as well as ambient sound.
There are no extras, which is something of a bummer. I doubt that there's little more that could be accomplished with another interview of Suchet, but the production design and direction are so good that a couple of commentary tracks from the directors would be most appreciated.
The good news is that Suchet has stated that he wishes to film the complete Poirot canon. Unconfirmed rumors suggest that ITV has decided to film the remaining stories, but should the series end, this set will at least serve as a testament to the advantages of going out on a decidedly high note. Keep your fingers crossed and your moustaches waxed.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Acorn Media
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