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MURDER IS EASY (2024)

"Strange, Unsatisfying Period Mystery"

What You Need To Know:

MURDER IS EASY is a two-part murder mystery in Brit Box set in 1954. Based on a 1939 Agatha Christie novel, the miniseries follows the investigation of an African diplomat into a string of strange deaths in a small English village. Luke, the diplomat gets involved after speaking to a middle-aged woman on a train. She was traveling to London to tell Scotland Yard the killer’s identity, but she gets murdered on the way. Luke feels responsible to find the woman’s killer. He gets help from a young woman engaged to a village bigwig.

MURDER IS EASY is a fine production with serviceable performances on all sides. However, there are many plot elements that are frankly odd and left unexplained. They make for a strange and lackluster viewing experience. MURDER IS EASY has a strong moral worldview where a young man, valiant for the truth, seeks to save lives by finding the identity of a serial killer. MURDER IS EASY is notably free of foul language and other offensive content. Also, the scenes involving the killer’s murder victims are brief and usually subdued.

Content:

(BB, PC, Fe, Pa, FR, V, S, A, DD, M):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Strong moral worldview where a young man seeks to save the lives of many people by finding the identity of a serial killer, the protagonist is a principled and determined man seeking the truth, as are the lead female characters, but the movie inserts some politically correct anachronistic feminism, which detracts from the story and there are references to a pagan African totem in a recurring dream sequence;

Foul Language:
No foul language;

Violence:
A man is seen running with a totem in hand through a forest in what appears to be a dream when he drops the item, and it catches fire on the ground, the body of an elderly woman is shown with a bit of blood on her right temple, a young man is shown several times falling to his death with impact and some blood flowing from his mouth, several serial killings via blunt force trauma and poisoning are briefly shown, a man is found with a bloody wound on the right side of his neck, and the supposed murder weapon, a tree branch, is found with blood on it next to the victim;

Sex:
A young man caresses a young woman alone in a room, kissing her neck, and seems on the edge of helping her disrobe when they’re interrupted;

Nudity:
No nudity;

Alcohol Use:
Several instances of social drinking;

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking, but a killer uses drugs to subdue murder victims;

Miscellaneous Immorality:
A medical doctor is deeply devoted to eugenics and keeps several books on the subject in his office.

More Detail:

Set in 1954, MURDER IS EASY is a two-part mystery on Brit Box about a Nigerian diplomat who gets caught up in a string of strange deaths taking place among prominent members of an idyllic English town. Based on a 1939 Agatha Christie novel featuring a retired British detective, MURDER IS EASY is a fine production with serviceable performances and notably free of vulgar content and extreme violence, but it’s too lackluster and sometimes odd and doesn’t always make sense.

A young African landowner and diplomat away from his home in Nigeria, Luke Fitzwilliam boards a train with an elderly woman, Mrs. Pinkerton. She shares that there have been several suspicious deaths in her small village, Wychwood Under Ashe. She’s traveling to Scotland Yard to reveal the murderer’s identity to the police. However, she first wants to place a bet at the local Derby horse race. As might be expected, she never makes it to the Yard.

Having failed to give the name of her suspect to Fitzwilliam before she died, Luke feels responsible to find her killer and to stop the string of murders plaguing Wychwood. In the village, he befriends a young woman, Brigid, who’s engaged to marry the town bigwig. Brigid turns out to be an enthusiastic ally in his investigations. She helps Luke navigate the local culture and gives him a woman’s perspective. However, can this unlikely detecting duo uncover the subtleties of this quiet little town where it seems MURDER IS not only EASY bit also more and more prevalent?

This production of MURDER IS EASY is a fine one, with serviceable performances on all sides. However, there are many plot elements that are frankly odd and left unaccounted for in the story. This makes for a strange and lackluster viewing experience. For example, Luke’s recurring dream sequence of being lost in the woods, holding and dropping an African totem, and it catching fire, is left almost totally unexplained. One is left wondering why these several sequences were even there. The protagonist seems unphased by these odd elements, though the same can’t be said for the baffled audience.

Also, the character of the male lead, Luke Fitzwilliam, is unaccountably changed to an African rather than a British policeman coming home from India, as he is in Christie’s novel. This politically correct move would be less off-putting if any of the African elements imposed on the original novel actually mattered to the plot. It’s also hard to imagine, given the creative team’s choice to change Luke to an African diplomat and landowner from a British policeman, that the people of Wychwood don’t question Luke’s actions more. They are silent as he asks questions only the police would ask and ready to cooperate when he accuses some to their faces. The identity of the killer also doesn’t quite seem to make sense. [SPOILER FOLLOWS] Finally, Fitzwilliam and Brigid don’t get married as they do in the novel. Instead, the filmmakers settle for a stale and unsatisfying feminism where Brigid goes off to pursue who knows what and saying, “It’s 1954. Women can do whatever they want to.” All in all, MURDER IS EASY is rather a confusing let down.

MURDER IS EASY has a strong moral worldview. The hero seeks to save the lives of many people by finding the identity of a serial killer. Thus, he’s a principled, determined man seeking the truth, as are the main female characters, Mrs. Pinkerton and Ms. Brigid. The movie is notably free of foul language and other crude or lewd content. Also, the sequences and images involving serial killer’s victims are brief and usually subdued. Though there are politically correct and feminist elements present, the problems with MURDER IS EASY lie more in its cinematic awkwardness than in its philosophy.


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