David Suchet returns in an all-new original Poirot Movie! An archaeologist's beautiful but unpopular wife is murdered while the couple is on the Middle East excavating a historical site. At the request of local authorities... more », a vacationing Hercule Poirot takes on the case in one of Agatha Christie's best-known tales.« less
A Standard David Suchet Poirot (But that still means good)
Matthew Gladney | Champaign-Urbana, IL USA | 07/09/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"David Suchet, in my opinion the best Poirot, returns in top form as the little Belgian detective, once again on the trail of murder. He is accompanied by the ever-faithful Capt. Hastings (once again masterfully, if somewhat dim-wittedly, portrayed by Hugh Fraser), and the setting is the hot Middle-eastern desert (filmed on location in Tunisia). Anyone familiar with the Poirot series which ran during the early-nineties will find that this new production does not fail in keeping up the quality that has trademarked David Suchet's reign as Poirot. The music is well-composed by Christopher Gunning. Clive Exton (main story adapter for the series), does a good job here. The director, Tom Clegg, does fine. The location shooting adds a richness to the over-all feel of the production, and, of course, Suchet and Fraser are excellent in the roles they now know so well. For those of you unfamiliar with the plot, it takes place at an archaeological dig. The wife of the head man, Dr. Leidner, has been receiving threatening letters. She is in fear of her life. A local Arab man has also been murdered. There is a French archaeologist who is a little too mysterious for his own good. Other stock Christie characters, such as a nurse, a dutiful policeman to aid Poirot, and a family member (this time related to Capt. Hastings) are all on hand. Fairly quickly, the wife of Dr. Leidner is murdered. The story takes on the "murder in the locked room" feel once the main crime has been commited, and it is at this point that the production really becomes engaging. If you have followed the David Suchet Poirot mysteries, then you will enjoy this one. But it is fair to say that is not, by any means, one of the "best" of the lot, despite its high production values. Perhaps it is the story. Blame Christie for having come up with one of the THE MOST unbelievable murder plots in mystery history. I found it hard to swallow the first time I encountered the work, and though this adaptation did its jolly-well best to work with the material, it *still* seems *very* far-fetched. That is all I will say on the matter, for I don't want to give anything away. If you are coming to this story for the first time, then I'm sure it will be quite an enjoyable experience. But if you're like me, and have seen or read it before, you'll probably be sitting there, thinking to yourself: "Great actors, nice setting, *bad* murder idea." To quote P.D. James, "Agatha Christie was a conjurer." She conjured many a fine and engrossing mysteries in her day, but Murder in Mesopotamia was not one of them. However, if you're looking for a cozy little two hour get-a-way with Poirot, as portrayed by the marvelous David Suchet, then by all means savor this production. The setting is real, the acting good, and the experience a pleasing one. It is not one of the *best* Suchet entries into the Poirot cannon, but it is a very sturdy one."
Unearthing the Truth at an Archaeological Dig
George R Dekle | Lake City, FL United States | 02/04/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Before the Murder on the Orient Express, there was the Murder in Mesopotamia. As a team of archaeologists labors away at an ancient Tell, the leader's wife has her head smashed in a room which no one else could have entered or left. Poirot, who has come to the dig for a visit with his old friend, Capt. Hastings, becomes entangled in the investigation. During the course of the investigation suspicion falls on every single member of the team. The solution is both logical and satisfying, and it accounts for all the loose ends quite nicely. Poirot's identification of the murderer followed a precise and inexorable chain of deduction leading unerringly to the murderer. His reconstruction of the modus operandi was also a tour de force of logic. Given the facts he had to work with, his solution provided the only way they would all fit together.Christie spins an entertaining yarn, and she may have been very knowledgeable on the subject of murder, but she betrays absolutely no understanding of the mechanics of perpetrating real-life murders. When I first read the novel, found the killer's modus operandi to be so complex, so dependent upon others unwittingly doing just exactly as expected, and so likely to miscarry even if everyone followed the script, that no intelligent murderer would attempt it. Watching the murderer carry out the plot on the TV screen confirmed my assessment. Only a lunatic would have attempted such a murder.This BBC TV production starring David Suchet is excellent. It follows Christie's plot faithfully, changing only three particulars of the plot. 1. In the movie, Suchet is in the Middle East chasing after the love of his life, the beautiful but corrupt Countess Rosakoff. In the book he was simply on vacation. 2. In the movie, his friendship to Capt. Hastings brings him to the archaeological dig. In the book, Hastings does not appear. 3. In the book, when Poirot announces his solution, he prefaces his remarks by saying that he doesn't have a shred of evidence to back it up. The killer then obligingly confesses. Not really likely. In the movie, he simply announces his solution without highlighting its highly speculative nature, and the killer confesses."
Poirot ages a bit, but keeps his charm
Paul Cerra | 08/21/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After a good run of a half-dozen seasons on the BBC beginning in 1989, David Suchet as Poirot continues the series with occasional specials such as this one. Murder in Mesopotamia is a two-hour special set at an archaelogical dig in Iraq. Poirot visits the site to meet up with his old friend and partner, Arthur Hastings. A mystery soon ensues when the wife of the scientist running the excavation is murdered.If you're like me and you think Suchet is a masterful Hercule Poirot, then Murder in Mesopotamia is a splendid way to pass a couple of hours. However, the series is clearly showing its age. Poirot still looks as dapper as ever, but over the years Hastings has been reduced to a tiny role where he says hardly anything more than "I say!" and "by Jove!" Unlike the earlier episodes, here the mystery is not particularly complicated; there are the usual red herrings, but the perpetrator is very easy to identify. So if you're just beginning to explore the many cases of Poirot, you might want to choose a different episode. However, for longtime fans, this two-hour episode is still worth watching despite some flaws."
Whodunnit? The Writers, That's Who
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 01/05/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Although they take some liberties with Poirot and his eternal sidekick Capt. Hastings, both David Suchet and Hugh Fraiser do justice to the characters. But purists have a point when they complain about unnecessary fiddling with Agatha Christie's plots. It's hard to improve on perfection, and this BBC adaptation of MURDER IN MESOPOTAMIA, one of Christie's most fiendishly cunning constructions, proves the point.Capt. Hastings does not appear in the Christie novel, which presents us with the tale of a seemingly impossible murder at an archeological dig in Iraq. In order to accommodate his presence, one character has been eliminated and another has been significantly reduced. With careful scripting, direction, and acting, the change might have been pulled off--but sad to say, no such thing occurs.The script is unexpectedly weak, and to add insult to injury the writers have also "tweaked" the plot in a failed effort to cover the problems they have created by fiddling with the story in the first place. The direction lacks focus, and most of the actors seem miscast and extremely unhappy about it. When all is said and done, MURDER IN MESOPOTAMIA is little short of a mess.Even so, Suchet and Fraiser manage enough charm to carry the project; they are always entertaining to watch, and I give the film three stars largely on that basis. But if you've already read the book, you'll be disappointed--and if you haven't read the book, you should, and immediately.GFT, Amazon Reviewer"
Jolly Good Show!
Francis M. Hough Jr. | Charlotte, NC USA | 08/07/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings are respectively as diabolically astute and amusingly befuddled as ever in this latest entry in the POIROT movie-length DVD releases from A&E.Though it may lack the all-star casts of the EMI feature films that starred the likes of Albert Finney and Peter Ustinov as Poirot, MURDER IN MESOPOTAMIA is every bit as engrossing and clever as any of those classics. The clues are there, ready for us to pour over them, and those with some knowledge of the way Mrs. Christie plotted her detective novels plus studying the clues on display should enable a wily viewer to figure out the identity of the murderer before it's revealed.There is better sound recording in this release. It's Dolby Stereo Surround this time, and the music is nicely enveloping. The picture, framed in the standard TV 4:3 ratio, is sharp enough to pass muster. The extra features, the usual bios of Christie and Suchet, are showing their age. A nice retrospective of Suchet's career as Poirot would seem to be in order eventually.All in all, a jolly good show for all concerned. One hopes other Poirots will be forthcoming. A&E certainly seems to know how to make these mysteries that capture period flavor and the Christie style superlatively."