This is the twenty-ninth film I have watched in "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2022-23", "A 33 week long challenge where the goal each week is to watch a previously unseen feature length film from a specified category." This is the 8th annual challenge, and my fourth time participating (my first year can be found at "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2019-20", the second year at "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2020-21", and last year at "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2021-22"). Week 29 is called "Cinema of Christie Week":
This week's challenge is to watch a previously unseen film adapted from a work by Agatha Christie.
I'm not sure how I ended up fulfilling this week's challenge with The Pale Horse, which isn't actually a movie at all, but is rather a two-part BBC mini-series. It must have been on the above-mentioned Agatha Christie list, but it's not there any longer.
Leonora Lonsdale is the director, but the project was led by writer Sarah Phelps. This was her fifth Christie adaptation for the BBC. I can't speak to the comparison between the Christie novel and this series, but it appears Phelps gave us a fairly loose adaptation. The story is tricky in mostly good ways, keeping the audience a half-step of the plot twists. There is a suggestion of the supernatural that both seemed out of place and worked to take us out of the same-old same-old of an ordinary Christie tale.
Rufus Sewell effectively carries the series as an upper-class antique dealer, Mark Easterbrook, who isn't everything he seems to be. Christie/Phelps keeps us wondering if Mark is a good guy or a bad guy by keeping his character both shady and somewhat appealing. On the one hand, I imagine Christie fans will welcome any version of one of the novels, while those who lean towards a more hardboiled approach might be impatient. On the other hand, perhaps the changes Phelps devises would turn off the fans. As I say, I don't know the book so I can't say how much Phelps deviates from the original.
The Pale Horse is a decent time-filler, but I wasn't overwhelmed.