Telefilm Review: Curtain

Curtain is a story many don’t want to read and don’t want to see. It’s Poirot’s last tale, the story in which Poirot meets his final end.

Poirot returns to Styles, where he solved his first great English case decades before. This is a different Poirot as far as we can tell, an invalid with a new valet whose days are numbered. Yet, he’s got one more case to solve and he turns (with reluctance) to his oldest and dearest friend, Captain Hastings.

David Suchet turns in a superb performance as this much older, ailing, and far less sunny Poirot. He’s more grumpy and snaps at Captain Hastings, who he has no choice but to depend on. Despite his inability to observe as he once did, it’s clear the little gray cells are still working.

Hugh Frasier delivers a great performance as Captain Hastings, no longer the dim-witted sidekick, he’s charged with grief over the death of his wife, with concern for Poirot, and with his daughter’s coldness and involvement with an amoral man. Hasting is driven to his limit and Frasier plays this beautifully, taking advantage of a script that makes Hastings a far juicier part than the typical comic sidekick.

The mystery itself is unusual. It’s hard to follow or to even figure out if there’s a pattern to what’s going on until we get the solution. Then the nature of the evil Poirot faces is exposed, and we’re brought face to face with the shocking choice to make at the end of his days.

Poirot’s final scene is beautifully done, as he’s a man dying hoping only for forgiveness. It’s only later that we learn what for.

Curtain is a solid production, and probably the best of the season.

I’ve enjoyed the entire series, and mystery fans own a large debt of gratitude to David Suchet, who didn’t come to Poirot of remaking him, rather Suchet has said that he understood his job as an actor was to serve the writer (and in the case of the Poirot stories, his creator) by bringing the character to life as they intended it. His job was to truly to be Agatha Christie’s Poirot. While there are quite a few adaptations (particularly in Series 9 and 10) where the story was often very different from Christie’s vision, in all of these tales, Suchet remained superb and succeeded in being Agatha Christie’s Poirot.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

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  1 comment for “Telefilm Review: Curtain”

  1. May 17, 2015 at 11:13 am

    It was sad to read this last case for Poirot as I read it many years ago. To watch it on PBS TV was even sadder. To know there would never be anymore Poirot cases and that Agatha Christie would never again write any new ones as she finished her Poirot’s last case was almost more than I can bear. For the people who have never read, heard or seen his Last case, there is a surprise ending quite out-of-character for Poirot, but I will not give it away here. You must read it to fine out what it is. I had become a great fan of this Belgium detective. It is just like when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the last case for Sherlock Holmes. Both authors are now gone and so are any new stories of these two fine detectives by them. We can re-read their stories, watch them on TV or listen to them on podcasts, but, if like me, you have done so, many times before, you know the ending. Then again, it is like coming home when I sit down and open one of their books, listen to there stories on a podcast or watch a show on TV. I am thankful that these two authors gave up their time to give us these stories. Regards, Joan Richards

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