Crooked House

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Crooked House Movie Poster Image
Gorgeous but bland, oddly paced Agatha Christie mystery.
  • PG-13
  • 2017
  • 115 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Not much to be learned or discovered here. Although, without giving anything away, the identity of the actual killer may be a little troublesome, especially where younger viewers are concerned.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The detective character here isn't as compelling as Christie's other characters, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. None of the other characters are particularly honorable, admirable, or trustworthy.

Violence

A character is murdered via injection. Needle shown going into arm. Second character murdered, dead body briefly shown. Car goes over a cliff, with an explosion. Guns, shooting at moles in the ground. A little girl falls from a tree house, off screen. Tantrum, with paintings ripped from the wall and stomped on. Arguing.

Sex

Kissing. Suggestion of an extramarital affair.

Language

"For Christ's sake," "sadistic pig," etc.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters smoke cigarettes and drink somewhat frequently, either alone or in groups. Some overdo it, with hangovers, etc.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Crooked House is a murder mystery based on an Agatha Christie novel. But it doesn't feature one of her iconic detective characters, and, despite a good cast, the characters are thin and don't generate much suspense or interest. A pivotal plot point is a little on the disturbing side for younger viewers. There are two murders: One is via injection, and the other body is shown lying on the floor. A car explodes, guns are shown, shots are fired, and a little girl falls (off screen) from a tree house. Characters drink -- both alone and together -- and smoke fairly frequently; some overdo it to the point of drunkenness and hangovers. Characters kiss, and there's the suggestion of an extramarital affair. Language includes a use of "for Christ's sake" and an insult: "sadistic pig."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byNiweera February 9, 2018

Twisty twisted murder mystery...

This film shows a series of murder where the suspects and their motives are clear as day yet it is hard to pinpoint the exact culprit. Creatively depicted the s... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bysingmadi January 13, 2018

Beautiful, uneasy, but satisfying mystery.

I think the review by Common Sense Media is a bit unfair. Yes, it is beautifully filmed and had some very impressive cinematography, but just to give it two sta... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byKingRobert December 25, 2017

Suspenseful but bland

I liked most of the parts but it was overly bland.

What's the story?

In CROOKED HOUSE, private eye Charles Hayward (Max Irons) is hired by a former lover, Sophia de Havilland (Stefanie Martini), to find out who killed her wealthy grandfather, Aristide Leonides. The house is filled with relatives, all of whom despised the old man and all of whom are suspects. Hayward investigates everyone, including Edith (Glenn Close), who hunts moles with a gun; Aristide's grown sons, Philip (Julian Sands) and Roger (Christian McKay); Philip's actress wife, Magda (Gillian Anderson); and the old man's second wife, a former Las Vegas dancer named Brenda (Christina Hendricks), who stands to inherit everything. Hayward also bonds with 12-year-old Josephine (Honor Kneafsey), who says she knows everything that goes on in the house but also admits that she likes to make things up. With a Scotland Yard chief inspector (Terence Stamp) riding him, Hayward has precious little time to uncover the real killer.

Is it any good?

Based on an Agatha Christie novel (reportedly one of her own favorites), this mystery is beautifully shot, with great set design, but it suffers from its odd pace. It's too fast to pick up on character nuance and too slow to generate any suspense. Crooked House serves up an entire mansion full of suspects, all of whom appear equally guilty and equally innocent. Director Gilles Paquet-Brenner (Sarah's Key, Dark Places) seems more intent on trying to build a mystery than on building a world populated by characters. Everyone seems placed like a puzzle piece, rather than organically occupying a living space.

Certainly Christie's skill comes into play during the final act, as the discovery becomes imminent and the disparate clues that have been scattered about begin to make sense, but until then, it's a thinly spread mess. The movie spends a great deal of time on the history between the detective and young Josephine, but it amounts to almost nothing; it's padding. Screenwriter Julian Fellowes has done far better (Gosford ParkDownton Abbey); Crooked House is just a lazy weekend in a big house with people no one would ever give a hoot about in real life.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Cooked House's depiction of violence and murder. How much does the movie actually show? How much is suggested? Is the result thrilling or gruesome? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • How does the movie depict drinking and smoking? Are these things glamorized? If so, how?

  • How does the movie compare to other films based on Agatha Christie stories? What's the appeal of murder mysteries?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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