|The Perfect Poirot: David Suchet|
Mystery writer Ariadne Oliver (Zoe Wanamaker of Mrs. McGinty's Dead) contacts her friend, Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (David Suchet), when a murder occurs in a village where she is visiting. The victim is a young girl who was drowned in a tub meant for the bobbing of apples at a Halloween party. Shortly before she was killed, the child, Joyce (Macy Nyman), was telling people that she had once witnessed a murder. Poirot investigates any past occurrences and accidents that may have been homicides, and uncovers a number of village secrets. Along with Ariadne, Poirot is a guest of widowed Judith Butler (Amelia Bullmore), who has a daughter named Miranda (Mary Higgins). Joyce's brother, Leopold (Richard Breislin) confides that he never much liked his sister. Other characters include Rowena Drake (Deborah Findlay), whose home was the sight of the Halloween party; Michael Garfield (Julian Rhind-Tutt), who designs fabulous gardens for wealthy clients; the town gossip Miss Whittaker (Fenella Woolgar); and others. David Suchet is simply superb as Poirot, the only actor to ever completely capture the character as Christie describes him. All of the performances are good (although Wanamaker seems bored through much of the telefilm and doesn't remind one at all of Christie's character), but Findlay and Rhind-Tutt are especially notable. This adaptation makes it explicit that a certain character is a sympathetically-drawn lesbian. This is one of the rare occasions when a Christie adaptation (written by Mark Gatiss) may be even better than the original novel. Christian Henson's score is suitably eerie and effective.
Verdict: Clever, suspenseful, and very well-acted. ***.