A young widow is left in sole possession of her late husband's fortune, and her brother refuses to share it with her in-laws - so they enlist Poirot to try to prove that the widow's missing first husband might not be dead after all.
Hercule Poirot finds himself trying to solve the mystery of the Cloade family. Rosaleen is the young widow of Gordon Cloade who was killed in a gas explosion in his London home. Rosaleen has inherited her late husband's substantial fortune and she and her brother David Hunter are refusing to share it with other members of Gordon Cloade's family. There have been persistent rumors that Rosaleen's first husband, an intrepid explorer, is still alive and as such would nullify her marriage to Gordon. What Poirot learns however is of a far greater deception that will alter everyone's perception of what they believe to their reality.Written by
"Poirot sees things, madame; it is a habit he cannot change"
The last "Poirot" episode available for viewing up to this point (May 2008), though apparently at least 4 more are on the way. And in my opinion, a very good one. It is a fascinating mix of the new and the old: the story is told in a somewhat offbeat way, but there are also some light moments (Mrs. Leadbetter and her dog, for instance) of a kind that had been almost completely eliminated from, say, "Five Little Pigs" or "Sad Cypress". Plus, just like in "Cards on the Table", we get to see Poirot back in his London apartment - actually, a different apartment, but still on the same building, Whitehaven Mansions. The locations are not as visually striking as those in many other episodes of the series, but there are some interesting experiments with red filters for the flashbacks.
David Suchet gives an outstanding performance in this one - he can be subtly funny ("There is an unresolved indigo in your aura", a flaky lady tells him. "Yes, I know, it is a problem", he replies) or dead serious ("If God should deprive anyone of His mercy, it surely will be you"); whichever the situation calls for. The rest of the cast is typically good, with top honors going to Elliot Cowan, who gives a truly creepy edge to David Hunter.
I noticed that the script was written by Guy Andrews, the same man who adapted "The Mystery of the Blue Train" for the screen. In both cases, Agatha Christie purists have complained about changes from the original text. But I (who had read neither novel) was able to appreciate the stories for what they were: multi-character, multi-layered mysteries that are structured a bit like Chinese boxes - you unlock one and there is another one inside. In other words, I'm already interested in his next AC adaptation, which according to IMDb will be "Hallowe'en Party" (also, I find it quite funny that some people complain about lack of faithfulness to the novels BUT want Hastings, Japp and Miss Lemon back in the movies, even if these characters did not appear in those novels at all!). Another point to consider is that David Suchet himself, who has read all the books in preparation for the role, has now been promoted to co-producer status and he has said that he reads and approves the scripts before filming begins.
Overall, "Taken at the Flood" may not be among the Top 5 Poirot episodes so far, but it's still better food for the brain than most of what is available out there. (***)
(Read also pajak3's excellent IMDb comment on this movie - the sentence "there is no such thing as a lighter side of crime" is particularly spot-on, especially when we're talking about murder)
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