Critics love John Malkovich's new Poirot but he divides viewers
US actor John Malkovich premiered his take on Agatha Christie’s Poirot last night on the BBC, in the first of new series The ABC Murders.
The star of movies like Dangerous Liaisons and Being John Malkovich assumed the character of the Belgian detective investigating a serial murderer.
Critics have lauded his performance as a man lost in his own vanity and past his best professionally, with The Guardian calling Malkovich’s performance ‘magnificent’.
Jim Shelley in The Daily Mail said that Malkovich was ‘never less than entertaining’.
And many viewers loved it too (including celebrity vicar/former ballroom star Richard Coles).
Well I think this is marvellous, imagining a Poirot beyond the character we encounter in the novels. Eppur si muove! #ABCMurders
— Richard Coles (@RevRichardColes) December 26, 2018
I’ve read the book twice, seen another tv adaptation and heard a radio adaptation, but this is still gripping me. Malkovich is superb so far. #TheABCMurders
— Complexicated Cookie (@Johnboy_Cook) December 26, 2018
#abcmurders is great so far. Good to see @eamonfarren branching out. His character is a completely different sort of evil to Richard Horne but is still played just as brilliantly. Needless to say John Malkovich is amazing as Poirot
— Dennis Reynold's emotions (@Hawl9000) December 26, 2018
Meanwhile, Rupert Grint’s stint as Inspector Crome got some plaudits too.
The biggest thing in The ABC Murders isn't John Malkovich as a quiet, internalized Hercule Poirot, but Rupert Grint making a dramatic transformation into an excellent character actor out of nowhere.
— Mathew Buck (@FB_BMB) December 26, 2018
But some remained less convinced. Though, the main criticism appears to be that he’s simply not David Suchet, who inhabited the character for decades on ITV.
Watching ABC Murders, to the soundtrack of my mother repeating 'he's not David Suchet though, is he.' #poirot #abcmurders
— Char (@charbot26) December 26, 2018
Did not enjoy the #ABCMurders , There is only one Poirot and that is David Suchet.
— Chris Lawson 🎈 (@redwritergirl59) December 27, 2018
Sorry Mr Malkovich there’s only one Poirot. Illustrative putting the two versions on in one day – just highlights @David_Suchet ‘s towering achievement in making Dame Agatha’s deceptively complex character live in all his dimensions on a much more restricted budget #trustthetext
— Judith Gardiner #FBPE (@Jagbooks) December 26, 2018
#ABCMurders Reflecting on why it was so bad. Love Suchet and saw him brilliantly on stage recently but was never wedded to his Poirot. Malkovitch very interesting. But radical reworking has to convince on its own terms and this was both dull and pompous.
— Deborah Loudon (@DeborahLoudon) December 27, 2018
It returns tonight on BBC One at 9pm.
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