John Gillispie: Twisty ‘Crooked House’ will keep viewers guessing

February 22, 2018 GMT

Movies & More reviewer John Gillispie shares his thoughts on Agatha Christie’s “Crooked House,” which is rated PG-13 and available on DVD.

A young private detective finds himself with a murder to solve in a big mansion full of eccentric family members in Agatha Christie’s “Crooked House.”

Max Irons stars as private detective Charles Hayward, whose former love interest Sophia (Stefanie Martini) asks him to help find out who killed her wealthy grandfather.

It turns out, though, that Charles and Sophia’s brief relationship in Egypt makes the investigation a little more complicated.

Glenn Close plays Lady Edith De Haviland, Sophia’s great aunt. We are introduced to Lady Edith as she tries to shoot moles on the estate.

Sophia’s parents are Philip (Julian Sands) and Magda Leonides (Gillian Anderson). Philip is a writer of historical books, and Magda is a theater actress.

However, Philip has written a screenplay for Magda, and the two wanted Sophia’s grandfather to finance the film. The two are also parents to teenager Eustace (Preston Nyman) and 12-year-old Josephine (Honor Kneafsey).

Meanwhile, Philip’s younger brother Roger (Christian McKay) has been running one of the family businesses and seems to have done a poor job at it. Roger is married to Clemency (Amanda Abbington), who wants to take her husband away from the mansion and his family.

Many of the family members dislike the murder victim’s young wife Brenda (Christina Hendricks), who may be having a relationship with the children’s tutor Laurence (John Heffernan).

Josephine’s nanny (played by Jenny Galloway) seems devoted to the child, who doesn’t treat her very well. Terence Stamp plays Chief Inspector Taverner, who hopes the access provided to Charles by the family can help solve the crime.

“Crooked House” appealed to me as a big fan of Agatha Christie.

So much attention has been paid to Christie’s detectives Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple that it is easy to overlook other works by the mystery author in which those characters do not appear.

Irons does a fine job as the detective, and the story should have a lot of viewers guessing who the murderer is right up until the end, which is a little shocking and unsettling despite there being plenty of clues throughout the film.

John Gillispie is the public relations director for the Huntington Museum of Art.