Hercule Poirot finds himself investigating the murder of his dinner host, Mr. Shaitana, who was stabbed in the heart while his guests played bridge. There are eight guests and Poirot finds himself in the company of three other investigators. The foursome interview each of the other guests in turn but make little headway until Poirot manages to reconstruct the various bridge hands played at the suspects' table. In doing so, he is able to identify one particular action that leads him to identify the killer.Written by
Alexander Siddig who plays the opening character goes by the name, 'Mr. Shaitana'. Ironically, this name means 'the naughty one' or 'the devil' in Hindi. See more »
During the party, Shaitana talks to a waiter and pushes him towards Poirot and Mrs. Oliver. When Shaitana pushes him, there is one cocktail glass on the tray carried by the waiter. When he approaches Poirot and Mrs. Oliver, there are two. See more »
I've no idea who the older lady is, Mrs. Lorrimer, but she and the young one
[referring to Anne Meredith]
have been throwing glances at each other in the most odd manner. Who's the policeman?
Superintendent Wheeler of Scotland Yard.
[judging Wheeler's expression]
Bowel trouble, that would be my guess. And your friend, from the Foreign Office?
Oh, that is Colonel Hughes.
Secret Service, is he?
Jen sais pas.
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Definitely flawed, but it's not without its charms.
It's great that Cards on the Table finally introduced the character of Ariadne Oliver, she was brilliantly portrayed by Zoe Wannamaker, she certainly added a zest and spark to the eccentric character.
The first half scores a ten, it is brilliant, it's lavish, deep, dark and utterly engaging, the second half I'd score a 5, it really does go off the boil. Personally I don't think the multitude of changes from the book benefit the screenplay, there are too many gaps. The biggest problem is with the last half an hour, it feels rushed somehow, and is quite at odds with the beginning.
It is however extremely well acted, Lesley Manville is magnificent as always, Alexander Siddig is excellent in his characterisation of Shaitana, a really different role for him. I really enjoyed Tristan Gemmill and Lyndsey Marshal I'm their respective roles.
Gorgeous costumes and set designs, they make it look decadent, but there are some horrible green screen scenes, which look cheap and amateur.
Suchet is so good as always, that bumps it up to a 7/10, it's not the best, but it has enough good elements to make it watchable.
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