Murder on the Orient Express: Movie Review

When you adopt an Agatha Christie novel which is a beloved classic, you can expect the expectations and anticipation to be exceedingly high. Murder on the Orient Express is an Agatha Christie novel that had already been adapted into a film by Sidney Lumet in 1974. This time, however, the books magnificent brilliance is being brought to life by Kenneth Branagh. He also features in the lead role of the movie. He stars as the detective who decides to take a break from sleuthing by boarding the orient express for three days. His hopes for reading and rest were however promptly dashed when a murder, of course, happens on the journey. And who better than a sleuth to solve the great mystery of a random murder, vacation mode or not.

Murder on the Orient Express

And so begins this tale of murder and investigation. Upon the first few minutes of the movie, it was easy to see just how much promise and potential the movie had. Set in a moving luxury train in the 1930’s the movie assembles a cast of hugely talented thespians. We had Michelle Pfeiffer coming in strong as a fun and sexy husband hunter. The great Judi Dench playing a Russian princess complete with the lapdogs. A racist who believes in the one true master race. Played by Willem Dafoe and Daisy Ridley who plays a prim and proper governess. From the level of talent assembled in the cast, it should be obvious that this movie would be a blast from start to finish. But things don’t go as planned.

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

It would seem that while the director’s assembly of talented cast for Murder on the Orient Express had a lot to offer, they weren’t exactly given enough chances to showcase their skill set in this particular movie. The movie quite, unfortunately, had a tendency to focus on detective Hercule Poirot – played by the director himself. Due to this primary focus on Poirot and less on the other interesting characters, the film does tend to go off tangents that seem a tad bit uninteresting.

The character Hercule Poirot had also been given a few modifications. This served more as distractions than as any great addition to the plot and cast. The character went from an extremely odd “egg-shaped head” man with a mustache to a man whose primary focus was on his giant tuft of a mustache and his emotions? The focus was lifted from the protagonist’s great use of logic and observation skills. It was then placed more on his temper, emotions, sadness, and fury. A change that unfortunately is more about Branagh the actor/director than Poirot the character.

Murder on the Orient Express was also made completely with C.G.I which rather gives an air of inauthenticity. For a movie set in the 30’s an actual train set shouldn’t have been so hard to come by.

This, however, shouldn’t take anything away from the committed and brilliant cast and the amazing work they did. With other actors and actresses like Penelope Cruz, Olivia Colman, Leslie Odom Jr. and a wonderful ballet dancer Sergei Polunin.

Conclusion

The movie had a huge amount of potential and I daresay some would find it interesting. One just wishes they were a lot more to look at than Hercule Poirot. Murder on the Orient Express still stands out as a great movie. Check out some of the most anticipated movies of 2018.