Roush Review: 'The ABC Murders' Feels Like a Post-Dickens 'True Detective'

Matt Roush
Review AMAZON

Forget cozy. With a penchant for the sordid and grotesque, this adaptation of a classic Agatha Christie whodunit is the opposite of genteel. It feels more like a post-Dickens True Detective, putting fabled sleuth Hercule Poirot and his cloudy past under the microscope.

"Who the hell are you?" demands insolent Inspector Crome (Rupert Grint) of the past-his-prime investigator. Viewers may wonder the same thing, given John Malkovich's peculiar and nontraditional take on the iconic character. (What's next, Sissy Spacek as Miss Marple?)

'The ABC Murders': John Malkovich on Playing a Unique Version of Agatha Christie's Detective

'The ABC Murders': John Malkovich on Playing a Unique Version of Agatha Christie's Detective

The two-time Oscar nominee takes on the role of Hercule Poirot in the Amazon Prime Video series.

A tall drink of dour water, this goateed Poirot with an indeterminate accent is melancholy and tortured. And yet his perceptive insights into the human condition help him track a serial murderer who's working his way through the alphabet.

As a perhaps too obvious red herring, Eamon Farren brings a jolt of twisted psychological intensity to the role of Alexander Bonaparte Cust (get it?), a deeply damaged traveling salesman with a masochistic bent whose itinerary matches up with the grisly killings. Easy to solve as A-B-C? Not likely.

The ABC Murders, Friday, Feb. 1, Amazon Prime Video