Sunday, 15 April 2018

Curtain: A Study in Conflict

  A while back ago, while meandering over my Pinterest site , I happened upon a picture of Poirot, in the last scene of Curtain. He's sitting at a desk in his room, writing the letter Hastings would receive from Poirot's lawyer . 
   The caption, however, was what floored me.  It was part of an article or critique of the film, Curtain;  Poirot's Last Case,  where ,Poirot is said to have committed suicide after turning murderer.

Poirot's Confession

     And I'm like,  WHAT?!?  What movie was this person watching?!

     Maybe it was just my frame of mood at the time I read it, but it seemed like the writer was royally p.o.'d at Poirot for not using his famous  'little grey cells'  to find a way around dealing with Styles'  Sociopath . A few fans were ticked off, in fact, but I'm not sure why.   Had they taken the time to consider the matter carefully, how COULD Poirot have dealt with the situation any differently? 

   Well, okay, he could have said,  "Forget this! I'm going to Clairage's!"   And why not?   For the sake of making the point, Poirot wasn't commissioned to find a killer that no one even knew was in their midst. He was in his late 70's and dying of a heart condition on top of everything else!   He didn't need the aggravation of trying to work out a case when he was at less than his best.

   Thing, though, was that Poirot had been investigating some very bizarre deaths and  needed to get to the bottom of the situation. Call it  'force of habit'  or a sense of justice that would not permit the retired and ailing detective to rest without dealing with it.  To that end, Poirot wrote to his longtime friend and colleague, Arthur Hastings, to be, for Poirot, 'the eyes and ears'  .

   But it was no easy task. All the harder in fact!  Since Poirot could not (or so we were lead to believe)  do many of the things he was so used to doing, in investigating a case, he was extra testy with Hastings'  inability to separate the victims from the killer. 

     It was during the   'dinner party from Hell' , as I call it,  where Poirot discovered who the killer was.  Nervy as you please, he sat across from Judith Hastings; baiting her to put up or shut up, concerning her views on Mercy Killing. Safest wager puts money on the killer's HOPING Judith  would put  a 'merciful'  end to Poirot's 'suffering'  and get him out of the killer's way at the same time!  You don't exactly have to be gifted with too many 'little grey cells to come to that conclusion.

    I mentioned Poirot's snippiness with Hastings'  and his seeming inability to separate the victims from the killer.  The other reason, more obvious, was Poirot's fear that he would die before he could bring down the killer.

    To those who insist that Poirot was a MURDERER, let me ask you;  WHAT WOULD YOU  HAVE DONE IN HIS PLACE?

   The true killer, for all his sociopathic evil was good at what he did!  I mean  GOOD, on a level equal with Poirot, himself, which Poirot as much as admitted, to the monster, himself.  This killer was just about made of Teflon! NOTHING legal would stick on him because he didn't actually touch anyone! His Modus Operandi  was to let people take him into their confidence;  tell him their problems, and then use that knowledge to provoke his new acquaintances to act on their truest desires.

  •      He provoked the co-owner of Styles court to shoot his busy-body wife for not letting him open a bottle of Port for himself and his friends. 
  • He provoked Hastings to killing a philandering creep who was after his daughter.  Had it not been for Poirot's sneaking sleeping medication into a hot chocolate that he persuaded his longtime friend to drink,  Hastings would have hanged for killing an innocent man. 
  In addition to the murders Poirot was already aware of,  (in clippings he showed killer in their first confrontation)  the new murders, and the scene he witnessed between Hastings' daughter and the killer, himself, there could be no doubt as to HOW the killer went about committing his crimes. Again, the police...the LAW couldn't touch this man.  And yet, unless he was dealt with, effectively , he would continue on in his merry little scheme;  reveling in the power of being able to do as he wanted  and the euphoria that the law was impotent to stop him.

   All of that said, I ask  once more, to those who accuse Poirot of just losing it, committing murder without just cause.  Wasn't there JUST CAUSE? You tell me. As Poirot would do, gather the evidence, look over what I've shared and tell me how you would have handled the case, in Poirot's stead.

 After all, when someone is in fear of their life, protecting yourself with the killing of your attempted killer is called, legally, JUSTIFIABLE Homicide.  And what if you know that this individual was planning on killing others?  Calling the police is generally the way to proceed. However, as it's been pointed out, the killer in this movie was an evil GENIUS.  He majored in NOT getting caught, while killing two people at a time;  The one who would end up dead,  and the person, who would hang for the killing. Always, the actual killer's hands remained clean. The one who persuaded the first killer to act on his or her impulse.

   As to Poirot's suicide,  in his letter to Hastings, Poirot reiterated a view he'd always held;  "I do NOT condone murder" .  He didn't WANT to kill the sociopathic nutter. If he could have called Scotland Yard and had the nutcase carted off, he could have died in peace, instead of being in fear that God would not forgive him for what he felt he had no choice in doing! 

   Aye, but that is a HUGE point, which proves  Poirot is NOT a serial killer ;possessing no conscience. Recalling the scene  when Poirot put the gun to to wanton murderer's forehead, the killer opened his eyes and smiled. Not so much as a HINT of remorse for the lives he took.  Compare that smirking show of contempt to   Poirot's fear that he would die un-forgiven! 

   If you believe in divine judgement, then you know that Poirot didn't avoid taking his heart medication in order to escape judgement, but in order to face it. Having already asked /pleaded for forgiveness, he would find it.
    If you believe that Poirot was WITHOUT EXCUSE in his actions, I VERY MUCH look forward to hearing what YOU would have done in his place!