What starts out as a lavish train ride through Europe quickly unfolds into one of the most stylish, suspenseful and thrilling mysteries ever told. From the novel by best-selling author Agatha Christie, “Murder on the Orient Express” tells the tale of thirteen strangers stranded on a train, where everyone’s a suspect. One man must race against time to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again. Kenneth Branagh directs and leads an all-star cast including Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley and Josh Gad. – 20th Century Fox
Murder on the Orient Express was directed by Kenneth Branagh and written by Michael Green. Branagh directed Thor and you might recognize him as Lockhart from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Along with directing Murder on the Orient Express Kenneth Branagh also stars as the world’s greatest detective Hercule Poirot. Michael Green the screenwriter has had a good year so far, having written Logan and Blade Runner 2049.
Murder on the Orient Express is a novel by Agatha Christie which has now been adapted to film and remade a few times. Branagh’s attempt here is the third go at it. Agatha Christie is considered one of the best murder mystery writers ever and I can attest to that. In 9th grade we had to read And Then There Were None, one of Agatha Christie’s novels. To this day that book is still one of the best books I’ve ever read, Christie mastered mystery. I have never read or seen any of the versions of Murder on the Orient Express but I had high hopes with Agatha Christie’s name attached to it. This film does not disappoint on the mystery aspect, Agatha Christie was done right. While watching Murder on the Orient Express I was thoroughly entertained by the plot and captivated by the mystery. For some it may be easy to guess who the culprit is and for others it may not be, regardless the ride is worth it. Whether you saw it coming or not watching Poirot put it together was a marvel.
Murder on the Orient Express packs a whopping cast. The cast here is star studded, tons of big names. Often times that kind of star power is a positive aspect but with this film it’s a negative aspect. Murder on the Orient Express stars Kenneth Branagh, Tom Bateman, Penélope Cruz , Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Marwan Kenzari, Olivia Colman, Lucy Boynton, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Sergei Polunin and Miranda Raison.
See I wasn’t kidding, huge cast and as you can see there are some big names. Unfortunately nobody other than Kenneth Branagh is given much to do. Everyone in this film performed well but no one got a chance to shine. Of course there were small moments where some were able to break through and shine particularly Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr, and Johnny Depp. It really pains me to say that Johnny Depp did well in this film. I usually hate Depp but he was actually delightful. Branagh is clearly the star of this movie and rightfully so he was fantastic. It certainly looked like he was having fun and enjoying himself the whole time. The character of Poirot is very interesting to me. He is clearly an intelligent man but also rather eccentric and that mustache is just incredible. I quite enjoyed Branagh’s portrayal of Poirot but for all I know it could’ve been nothing like what the character is like in the novel.
Murder on the Orient Express is a gorgeous film. Branagh certainly knows how to act but he also knows how to direct. If you seen a trailer for this movie you know it takes place on a train and it’s winter. The winter scenery looks stunning and sets the atmosphere of being trapped. I’m not a train guy at all but the train in this film was a damn good looking train. Branagh’s directing style for Murder on the Orient Express looks and feels a bit old fashioned which is perfect considering the setting of the movie. This movie is nowhere near the caliber of Citizen Kane but they were a few scenes that reminded me of it, stylistically. Lots of cool top down shots and a few longer scenes without cuts. The directing in this movie looked different from everything else I saw this year.
Murder on the Orient Express is a pretty looking, entertaining whodunit murder mystery. The star studded cast doesn’t elevate the movie like you would expect but they certainly don’t bring it down. If your someone who is familiar with the source material or one of the remakes you might not enjoy it as much but Kenneth Branagh’s vision is a sight to behold.
I give Murder on the Orient Express a 7 out of 10, would watch again.
“I do not blame you, I blame the hen.”