A perfectly executed and thrillingly dark murder mystery…
And Then There Were None has been adapted before and yet no version has quite managed to capture the murky beating heart at the centre of this story until now. This isn’t your standard Christie in which a fiendish murder is solved by the intelligence of our inherently likeable detective hero. Instead it is an intense study of fear, guilt and remorse asking us compelling moral questions about violence and how to react to it whilst enthralling us with a gripping and stylishly told mystery.
We follow ten people who have been brought together to an isolated location for a party, only almost as soon as they arrive things don’t seem to be quite what they initially appeared and it isn’t long before they are all accused of various dark crimes and one by one are bloodily murdered. Death is not presented lightly here, it’s an unpleasant and inherently violent act. It may sound like I’m stating the obvious but all too often with murder mysteries we are given a rather rose tinted murder scene, the grisly details of which are quickly papered over in favour of presenting a complex puzzle for us to all figure out. This adaptation by contrast plays more like a horror film in which death is scary, the atmosphere is gothic and the tension palpable. We still have a mystery which is both fiendish and thrilling to try and figure out, but it is paired with and in fact enhanced by a supremely effective gothic mood and tone.
The entire production is of top-notch quality throughout; feeling both classic in nature and style but with a contemporary sensibility woven in. One only has to look at the cast list to be assured of a certain level of quality (Charles Dance, Miranda Richardson, Sam Neil, Noah Taylor…) and across the board this cast deliver some excellent work, none of whom give us a simplistic portrayal of good or evil, instead we have nicely shaded characters which are at times very likeable and at others detestable. Collectively they make for an enthralling set of characters and performers which we simply cannot get enough of.
A highly satisfying murder mystery which thrills us and puzzles us in all the ways we would expect it to, whilst also bringing plenty of new ideas to the table to ensure it all feels fresh. An excellent piece, highly recommended.
And Then There Were None is out today (11/011/16) on DVD in the UK courtesy of Acorn Productions (RLJ Entertainment) and you will be able to find it online and in all good retailers. Will you be checking it out? Let us know in the comment box below!