Movie Review: Murder on the Orient Express

Murder_on_the_Orient_Express_teaser_poster

An all-star cast, a classic tale, lavish scenery.

Kenneth Branagh both directs this film and stars in it as Hercule Poirot, the detective trapped on a train with a dead man and the murder trapped on board with rest of the ensemble in the luxe train after an avalanche blocks the path through the European mountains. The cast includes the likes of Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz and William Defoe all playing their part in the plot for this adaptation of Agatha Christie’s famous novel of the same name.

I haven’t actually read Christie’s novel, so I didn’t go into the cinema knowing anything about the characters or the outcome of the mystery. I did expect a visually stunning movie, which it it is. But I felt the film couldn’t quite get the tone right–was this hysterical melodrama, or was it an arty production of a tired old favourite, or was it supposed to be serious drama? All the characters felt flat, except for Hercule Poirot, who really did star in the film, as he probably should.

When I got to the finale and the unravelling of all the clues, I had an overwhelming sense of disappointment and a feeling that I’d actually known the answer for quite a while and it wasn’t a particularly satisfying one at that. (Apologies, perhaps, to Christie.) All in all, this wasn’t a standout film for me.

3 stars.

 

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