“Crooked House” is a 2017 British mystery film directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner, based on the 1949 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. The movie is a classic whodunit story that follows the investigation of a murder in a wealthy family’s mansion, where everyone has a motive to commit the crime.
The story is set in the aftermath of World War II in England, where a private detective named Charles Hayward (Max Irons) is asked by his former lover Sophia (Stefanie Martini) to investigate the death of her grandfather, the wealthy and powerful businessman Aristide Leonides. The patriarch of the Leonides family is found dead in his own bedroom, and suspicion immediately falls on his own family members, including his second wife, his three sons, and their respective spouses.
The investigation is further complicated by the fact that everyone in the Leonides family seems to have a secret or a hidden motive for wanting the old man dead. Sophia, for example, is convinced that her grandfather was murdered, and is determined to uncover the truth. Charles Hayward finds himself increasingly drawn to her, and becomes embroiled in the complicated web of family secrets that eventually lead to the startling revelation of the true killer.
The cast of “Crooked House” is exceptional, with a number of talented actors bringing the characters to life. Glenn Close is particularly impressive as the family matriarch, Lady Edith de Haviland, who is a force to be reckoned with and is determined to protect her family at all costs. Gillian Anderson also delivers a standout performance as Magda Leonides, the young and beautiful second wife of Aristide.
The film’s setting is also noteworthy, with a beautifully realized production design that evokes the post-war era in England. The mansion where the action takes place is an impressive and imposing structure, filled with dark corners and hidden passages that add to the sense of mystery and intrigue.
One of the strengths of “Crooked House” is its adherence to the classic whodunit formula. The plot is well-crafted, with a number of red herrings and false leads that keep the audience guessing until the final reveal. The film also offers a number of memorable characters, all of whom have their own unique motives and personalities.
However, the film’s adherence to the classic formula can also be seen as a weakness. Some viewers might find the plot predictable or formulaic, and the film’s pacing can be slow at times. Additionally, the film’s attempt to remain faithful to Christie’s original novel can lead to some clunky dialogue and exposition.
“Crooked House” is a well-made and engaging mystery film that will appeal to fans of Agatha Christie’s work, as well as to those who enjoy classic whodunits. While it may not break any new ground in terms of storytelling or pacing, the film’s strong cast and well-realized setting make it a solid entry in the genre.