Death On The Nile (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Pandemic and a load of delays may have knocked off a potential adult IP franchise too quickly in that of Kenneth Branagh’s take on Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot. Murder On The Orient Express proved to be a solid success back in 2017. Unfortunately its sequel, Death on the Nile, would be pushed back and a few of its cast members would be surrounded in controversies in the time it lay wait. When it finally set sail in February 0f 2022, its voyage was that of the damned. Hopefully, with its recent release to streaming and this 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray (Hitting shelves April 5th), it’ll find a strong audience and perhaps we could see a third novel adapted/updated. Maybe its just for streaming, maybe the theater gets another shot. It’d be a shame as these films have been easily digestible fun. Anywho, pre-order yourself a copy today if you’re interested. There’s a paid Amazon Associates link that you’ll find scrolling on down after the review.


Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot’s (Kenneth Branagh) spectacular Egyptian vacation aboard a river boat becomes a terrifying search for a murderer after a picture-perfect couple’s honeymoon is cut tragically short. Based on Agatha Christie’s novel, this tale of passion and jealousy is filled with wicked twists and turns until its shocking finale.

While Branagh’s follow up to the train mystery once again finds some similar entrapment aboard a boat, this story opens up and has the film able to see some sights and play around in some more open territories during its run. One of the aspects quite noticeable about the film is the beautiful cinematography on display. While it came out after, principal photography for Death on the Nile was done a year before Belfast went before the lens. Much of what is lovingly on display here would translate over to more innovative fun in that film. Here though, there is a lot to play with in terms of color, exotic locales and overall grander sense of scale. Unfortunately, though, via reshoots or just the inability to get the perfect shot, some of the green screen work looks super obvious and comes off a bit phony and distracting. Its minimal, but it just makes itself very well known.

Nile sports another solid cast of familiar faces all potentially having the possibility of killing one another. This cast features some iffy’s that haven’t been in anything major in a while like Armie Hammer and Russell Brand. Brand is actually quite solid, while Hammer is overall fine but has some moments where he comes off just a bit silly with his accent. Some strong work comes through for Annette Bening in a more limited role. I hate to sound drastic, but this film might have captured Gal Gadot’s best performance. She showcases a bit of a uniqueness with both the strengths and vulnerability of the character. Gadot shines in every moment she gets to share the frame with her director, Kenneth Branagh. Branagh, who continues to knock it out as Poirot.

This Christie adaptation is a nice, rock solid 3-star adult skewed picture that is a fun watch. If you were a fan of the also solid Murder on the Orient Express, then I’d be hard pressed to think you would enjoy this one too. Its a new cast, that is just as fun, but this time with more appealing locales and set pieces to go along with Branagh relishing and enjoying both playing Hercule Poirot and bringing the pages of Agatha Christie to life.


Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the standard Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail Death on the Nile arrives on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray as a native 4K title, being finished with 4K digital intermediate. It looks quite grand, being shot for 70mm. The film has a sharp, vivid and vibrant look to it. Its plenty bright with great sharpness, strong details and color saturation. The one knock on the clarity is that the obviously green screened moments become even more obvious and hokey, taking you slightly out of those moments for a second.

Depth: Branagh’s cinematography on display in the film is pretty big and it does well in this transfer of feeling that way. Rooms, the boat, celebration halls and Egypt all feel big and spacious with lots of good depth of field. Movements are natural and smooth and no issues of distortion happen during any rapid motions.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and natural with a great presentation of shadow. Blacks also help with object and person definition and no issues occur with any information being lost in the darker areas of the frame. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are bold, bright and gorgeous here with a great deal of good saturation. Things like straw hats, or fabrics with faint differences in thread colorings come through quite clear. HDR helps give a glow to some of the fire in the film as well as some nice pop to a bit more vibrant fabric colors.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures are almost like you’re looking through a window with every bead of sweat or facial grease showing up clear as day.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, French 5.1 Dolby Digital (Canada), Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, German 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, Italian 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus

Subtitles: English SDH, French, French (Canada), Spanish, German, Italian, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish

Dynamics: Death on the Nile continues the steady trend of the 20th Century Studio side of Disney’s 4K releases having rather solid or terrific Atmos tracks. This one falls on the solid side, but this isn’t a movie constantly needing the big feel, but it more than does what you’d be hoping on any sort of minimum expectations. It carries some solid power, good balance and nice playfulness in the speaker interplay. Overall, it more than does the trick.

Height: From up above you get birds flying, a boulder falling, feet scuttling and more sounds that match what’s happening on screen. Also the score comes to concert here above to help build it as well.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer hits decently, more so than much all of the standard Disney titles. It hits with the expected impact on crashes, gunshots and such, but no extra shake to it.

Surround Sound Presentation: While its not some rock party, the rear and side channels do filter in some great ambiance and keep track of off screen activity with good accuracy. Rolling motion has some good power and travel is accurate and fun throughout.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.


Death on the Nile comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a redeemable digital code. All bonus features are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Death On The Nile: Novel To Film (HD, 15:30) – This featurette goes over how Kenneth Branagh and screenwriter Michael Green collaborated with Christie’s estate to bring a new twist to Death on the Nile. Green was terrified by the original film when he was very young and couldn’t sleep on his own for 2 years. Michael Pritchard, producer, says the goal is to have audiences leaving feeling like they saw some genuine Agatha Christie. Many of the crew join in to discuss bringing the book to life.

Agatha Christie: Travel Can Be Murder (HD, 5:53) – A piece on “the Queen of Crime”. This ties with how Death on the Nile connects with Christie’s own love of travel. Noted experts as well as people who worked on the film (Annette Bening shows up here) reflect on Christie’s legacy and how she worked.

Design On The Nile (HD, 11:01) – The setting, the costumes, the photography are all subject of this featurette which focuses on getting Christie’s influence correct in the final film.

Branagh/Poirot (HD, 5:35) – This piece pays tribute to Branagh’s ability to stay connected to his cast and creative team through it all. Plenty of interviews to compliment and share what they like about him from cast and crew are abound.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 10:45)

Official Trailer (HD, 2:08)


Death on the Nile holds up to Murder on the Orient Express with ease and has no trouble improving in some corners as well. It arrives on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with a lovely looking image and a rock solid Dolby Atmos track. Nicely complimenting it are some fluffy but educational extras. Overall, its a nice package, likely nabbed at a discounted sale price down the road.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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