An ideal version of Agatha Christie's classic mystery novel. Working backwards, the film chronicles the confessions found in a killer's diary in the not-so-friendly hamlet of King's Abbot. Guilt-ridden Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) believes he should have noticed the warning signs preceeding the murder of his friend, industrialist Roger Ackroyd (Malcolm Terris). Ackroyd's affair with the widowed Dottie Ferrars (Rosalind Bailey) should have fired up Poirot's "little gray cells" after all, she was being blackmailed about her husband's untimely death. And though Poirot once financed Ackroyd's prosperous chemical laboratory, not everyone shared Poirot's high opinion of the victim. The picturesque town of King's Abbot is a positive hotbed of rancor, where gossips like Doctor Sheppard's sister Caroline (Selina Caddell) stoke the fires of ill will. Throughout his investigation, Poirot elicits the unofficial aid of the village's kindly medic, Doctor Sheppard (Oliver Ford Davies), who knew associates and relatives of both Ackroyd and Dottie. Neither Sheppard's observations nor Poirot's intuition clear up attendant mysteries, including the reason Ackroyd's stepson Ralph Paton (Jamie Bamber) postpones his engagement to the lovely Flora Ackroyd (Flora Montgomery). Perhaps Ralph murdered his stepfather out of greed. Or maybe Ackroyd's aide, Geoffrey Raymond (Nigel Cooke), acted out of exasperation because he was allowed no authority at the factory. And what does the dismissal of Ackroyd's maid Ursula (Daisy Beaumont) have to do with the crime? The solution hinges on the exact time when someone plunged a dagger into Ackroyd's neck, and a certain dictaphone recording could undo several alibis. Poirot's personal connection to the victim proves detrimental to a quick wrap-up of the case. In this enormously satisfying puzzle picture, the crafty Poirot explores small-town malice as he endeavors to nab a wolf in sheep's clothing. It allows us to watch the wheels turn in Poirot's brain as he explores an organized madman's master plan, and the solution is a classic.
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- Released: 2000
- Rating: NR
- Review: An ideal version of Agatha Christie's classic mystery novel. Working backwards, the film chronicles the confessions found in a killer's diary in the not-so-friendly hamlet of King's Abbot. Guilt-ridden Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) believes he should have… (more)