Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Leslie Odom Jr. Josh Gad, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Penélope Cruz
Release date: Nov 10, 2017
Watch the Trailer HERE
With recently returning from my wedding and honeymoon, the approaching holidays, and other movies like Thor and Justice League higher on my must see list, it took me a couple of weeks to find time to see Murder on the Orient Express. Having never read the popular Agatha Christie novel, nor seen the 1974 movie adaptation, I went into the theater with almost zero expectations.
Director Kenneth Branagh also stars as the legendary detective Hercule Poirot. Set in 1934, Hercule is reminiscent of an obsessive compulsive Sherlock Holmes, who finds himself hoping for a few days rest as he travels by train to his next case. Of course, there would be no story if he was able to actually rest, and he finds himself in the middle of troubling murder mystery: the culprit being one of the passengers on the train.
Branagh does an exceptional job making Hercule fun to watch. The detective’ s peculiar personality makes for some humorous moments. While he isn’t wrong, he is extremely arrogant in his ability. He tells everyone more than once that he is the best detective in the world. Hercule’s mustache also has to be one of the best in the world. It’s definitely on the top ten list of epic movie facial hair. The only problem is it is noticeably fake as the gray and white coloring shifts throughout the movie. In a movie of stellar casting, Branagh’s character is the most fun to watch.
Speaking of the cast, Barnagh has indeed assembled a fantastic cast. Each get a fair amount of time to shine, as they are interrogated one by one as suspects. It’s a great way to learn their back-stories and possible motivations for the murder; succeeding at fitting in everything you need to know in the time allotted. It’s difficult to pinpoint performances that stand out from the rest, as they are all great for the most part. Rather, it’s easier to notice the ones that aren’t given much to do, such as the retired military commander played by Derek Jacobi and Judy Dench’s assistant played by Olivia Coleman.
Coming into the movie, not knowing the story or how it ends, it was refreshing to not have everything figured out until the end. It is a great story with twists that go the opposite way you expect. This is a different type of movie than modern movie goers are used to. It’s a trip down cinema history to a time where movies focused primarily on character dialogue and development rather than tons of action and explosions. As a result, the movie may feel slow at times for some moviegoers. However, it’s a story that’s worth taking the time to sit through.
The cinematography is gorgeous. No matter whether its picturesque views of the train traveling through snow-covered mountains to its destination, or watching the characters interact inside the compartments of the Orient Express itself, every shot is unique and fantastic.
Murder on the Orient Express is a fantastic mystery that will make you laugh as much as it will make you think. By the end, you’ll want to see the humorous yet masterful Hercule Poirot solve another case in the sequel that is teased.
9 epic mustaches out of 10.
I thought the visuals were beautiful too. They added in some action – like the chase sequence off the train, the fight in the luggage car, and collecting the passengers in the cave for the final act. None of these were in the book! I suppose it was to keep audiences interested; murder mysteries do hinge carefully on speech, interviews, analysing evidence, a formula difficult to slot explosions and slow-motion fights into 😛
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