Sunday, 20 November 2011
And Then There Were None 
Adapted from The Ten Little Indians, the enormously popular novel by the legendary British mystery novelist Agatha Christie, Rene Clair’s And Then There Were None provided a classic template that has been used and rehashed numerous times over. The brilliant and ingenuous plot dealt with the bumping off of each of ten strangers who’ve assembled on an island one by one – possibly by someone who’s part of that motley group. Each of the ten people has some dark and violent past, thus making the carefully orchestrated murders acts of extra-judicial punishments for their sins. To make matters more interesting, the popular and grotesque nursery rhyme that formed the basis for the titles of both the book and movie is followed almost like a ritual by the mysterious judge, jury and executioner with cold and ruthless precision. Technically or as a piece of art the movie might not have been groundbreaking, but that’s not to say the movie was short of merits – rather far from it. Though the narrative never moves at the kind of breakneck speed today’s thrillers tend to, the elegant pacing worked very well by ensuring slow but quietly engaging buildup of suspense and mystery. Though some of the performances do border on the theatrics, on the whole the movie was well enacted, especially by the excellent character actor Barry Fitzgerald as an odd-looking former judge with a sinister smile perpetually attached to his face, among others. Interestingly, the director was loyal to the source material for most parts, but chose for some drastic deviations for the finale.
Director: Rene Clair
Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Ensemble Film