In this TV movie, a classic mystery is updated and relocated to a glamorous world of London socialites and secret agents, introducing two unique and compelling investigators and taking us through to the highest corridors of power.
Oliver Ford Davies,
While on vacation at a resort hotel in the West Indies, Miss Marple correctly suspects that the apparently natural death of a retired British major is actually the work of a murderer planning yet another killing.
Agatha Christie has been one of my favourite authors for such a long time now, since the age of 11 from reading 'And Then There Were None' and watching the David Suchet adaptation of 'Sad Cypress'. Love the twisty mysteries, rich characterisation, meticulous atmosphere, her intelligent use of prose and ingenious final solutions. Her work has mostly been adapted well, the obvious examples being the best of the Joan Hickson Miss Marple and David Suchet Poirot adaptations.
Serving as essentially a four part pilot to 'Les Petits Meutres D'Agatha Christie', the French series that adapted loosely a lot of Christie's work, 'Petits Meutres En Famille' is like that series. Very fascinating and light-hearted entertainment with an intriguing mystery. It's essentially a loose adaptation of 'Hercule Poirot's Christmas', basically like 'Les Petits Meurtres D'Agatha Christie' a frame-work of her work, a very good read with a clever denouement and one of Christie's most hateful victims, and it's a good one. Anybody expecting a straight up faithful adaptation may need to watch with caution, but there is an awful lot to like on its own merits.
The pacing could have been more consistent perhaps, most of the time it's perfect but there are moments where it could have been tighter and others where it could have slowed down.
Likewise with some of the more comedic elements, sometimes in need of a calming down and more subtlety.
However, 'Petits Meutres En Famille' looks lovely, especially the lavish period detail and scenery to take your breath away. The vibrant but never over-saturated or garish colours, that could be quite atmospheric, and photography complement beautifully. The music matches the light-hearted and at times very atmospheric tone very well. On the most part, the writing is endearing and provides a great deal of entertainment. Yet it doesn't get in the way of telling a good mystery, and the mystery is clever and very sophisticated, with any brutality not being overdone.
A big part of 'Petits Meutres En Famille's' success is the characterisation, with the rich characterisation still present and a well matched pairing in Larosiere and Lampion, remarkably already very interesting and well settled. The former is the richer character but Lampion the more endearing and rootable one. The direction is competent throughout and cannot fault the acting, with outstanding leads in Antoine Dulery and Marius Colucci.
On the whole, definitely well worth watching. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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