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Ten Little Indians (1989)
Director: Alan Birkinshaw

An unknown judge invites a guilty governess and others to a 1930s safari, for justice one by one.

Ten Little Indians (1989)


I think making a Christie film must be hard, because so seldom does it work. For me, the metric is very simple. We need to be allowed to speculate against multiple impossibilities. Many folks will be exposed for hidden, possibly relevant qualities.

What makes Christie work is that at the end, things are explained, often in a context where the detective has all the suspects gathered and the explanation is artfully unrolled. We are challenged to reinterpret what we knew, usually in a surprising way. That much is essential or the whole enterprise fails.

The book on which this is based is amazing: a ‘locked room’ mystery where not one but ten murders are impossibly committed. The unravelling is novel and a structure that to my knowledge has never been duplicated.

This film tosses all of that exposition. We do learn who the murderer is, but no murder is explained. This is particularly true of the elaborate fake murder. So, boo! No reward for me, so no reward for the filmmaker.

The actress playing Vera is appealing, the only one that matters until the goofy ending.

Posted in 2022

Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.


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