An ailing Poirot returns to Styles with Hastings nearly three decades after solving their first mystery together there in order to prevent an unscrupulous and ingenious serial killer from claiming more victims.
Still mourning the untimely death of his wife, Bella, Hastings is summoned to Styles Court in Styles St. Mary by his old friend Poirot. It is the country manor where, thirty years previously, he and Poirot had first met in England and where they had also solved their first murder mystery together. Now, Styles has changed hands and is being run as a modest post-war guest house, and it is here that Hastings makes a gut-wrenching discovery: Poirot's health has taken a turn for the worse. The Belgian detective is now old, gaunt, arthritic, and confined to a wheelchair as he battles a weak heart. But his little gray cells are as active as ever, which is why Poirot has called him to Styles in the first place - a murderer is in their midst, and may be ready to strike again. He asks Hastings to be his eyes and ears about the place, for Poirot does not know who is likely to be the killer's next victim. Being as observant and vigilant as possible, Hastings takes stock of his fellow company, ... Written by
[four months after his death, voice-over]
I have instructed my lawyers to deliver this manuscript to you four months after my death, by which time you will no doubt have evolved the most preposterous theories. But really, mon ami, you should by now have been able to work out who killed Norton. As to who killed Barbara Franklin, that may come as more of a shock. When you asked if I knew who was the killer, I did not quite tell to you the truth. I knew, but had to make sure. You see, I had never ...
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It's difficult, perhaps nearly impossible, to write an objective, clear- eyed review of Curtain at this point. Those of us who enjoyed Suchet's definitive portrayal are filled with a mix of emotions. So I won't even try to be objective.
The setting was drab and dark, yes, but that, I think, was part of the point. A sumptuous, beautiful setting, like that seen in Five Little Pigs, would've seemed out of place. Styles is a decayed, dying home, a shadow of itself -- and so, it seems, is Poirot.
Closer observers of UK television and movies might recognize members of the cast and comment on their ability to carry off their roles. I can only say that I thought all the actors did, at minimum, competent jobs. Hugh Fraser and Aidan McArdie deserve particular commendation for turning in wonderful performances. It nearly goes without saying that David Suchet proves, yet again, why he is the definitive Poirot.
The expectations for this episode were tremendous. I'd say that the production did an excellent job satisfying Christie purists, an easier task given that she wrote this at the height of her powers. A wonderful way to close out a wonderful series, n'est pas?
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