And Then There Were None (2015) 

Reviewer: Charity Bishop

Agatha Christie’s most famous novel comes to the small screen in a big way in this star-studded adaptation.

It’s all a bit odd. Ten people brought to an island for different reasons, to meet their host. Eight guests of various backgrounds and two staff. Vera Claythorne (Maeve Dermody) has come as a private secretary. Judge Wargrave (Charles Dance) came to meet a mutual friend… who hasn’t yet arrived. Dr. Armstrong (Toby Stephens) soon shows animosity for the charming young Anthony Marston (Douglas Booth) who almost ran him off the road. The very proper, religious-minded Emily Brent (Miranda Richardson) looks askance at the whole thing. General MacArthur (Sam Neill) tries to maintain the peace, while Philip Lombard (Aidan Turner) studies his companions with a shrewd eye… and the sinister Blore (Burn Gorman) lies about his name.

A mysterious recording after dinner gives them all a shock. It accuses them each of murder. Confusion, chaos, and denial ensue – and then Marston drops dead. Poisoned. By dawn, the hired help’s wife lies cold in her bed. The guests try not to panic. They look for a boat to come and fetch them from the mainland. They want answers. But MacArthur warns them it won’t come. And Lombard says he is very much a murderer. The tape got him “spot on” … so the rest of them must be liars. And soon, death will come for them all. But who’s doing it? And why?

In some ways, this is a faithful book adaptation. The characters are all the same as is the plot, but the BBC has modernized it in other ways – making some of the deaths more brutal and including foul language (a dozen f-words) and two brief sex scenes. But the costuming is fantastic, the atmosphere is unparalleled, and the cast is magnificent. The sense of menace grows throughout the story, which makes the audience feel very alone on a Godforsaken lump of rock in the middle of the ocean. If you haven’t read the book, you may not predict the twist early on – but the palpable sense of panic, hysteria, and suspicion will catch you in its net.

It can be a bit morbid at times for obvious reasons, and you may not like the ending. This is not a situation where a stuffy, fussy little Belgian detective sits them all down in the living room and explains the murder before it goes too far. In this story, no one wins.

Sexual Content:
Two brief, clothed sex scenes with movement.
 
Language:
A dozen f-words. Several abuses of Jesus' name. Scattered profanities and vulgarities (s**t, damn, hell, bastard).
 
Violence:
Many depictions of murders and deaths, ranging from smothering an old woman to letting a child drown; two characters are poisoned; another has his head bashed in, another had knitting needles sticking out of her throat, another is stabbed, one is found sliced into with an ax, a person hangs themselves, others are shot; flashbacks to murders, some happen off-screen through implications; children shown crumpled in the road after a car hits them. A sense of menace and death lurks throughout.

 
Other:
Lots of drinking, some drunkenness.