Movie Reviews

Published on November 8th, 2017 | by Jennifer Fiduccia

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Murder On The Orient Express

The upcoming release of Murder on the Orient Express, Produced by 20th

Century Fox, Scott Free Productions and Genre Films, is Directed by

Kenneth Branagh (he also Directed Dunkirk, and if you haven’t seen that,

you need to!).

 

Murder on the Orient Express has an all-star cast consisting of Kenneth

Branagh as Hercule Poirot, Daisy Ridley as Miss Mary Debebham, Leslie

Odom Jr as Dr. Arbuthnot, Tom Bateman as Bouc, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as

Biniamino Marquez, Penelope Cruz as Pilar Estravados, Josh Gad as Hector

McQueen, Johnny Depp as the villain Edward Ratchett, Derek Jacobi as

Edward Masterman, Sergei Polunin as Count Rudolph Andrenyi, Lucy Boynton

as Countess Elena Andrenyi, Marwan Kenzari as Pierre Michel, Michelle

Pfeiffer as Caroline Hubbard, Judi Dench as Princess Dragomiroff, Olivia

Coleman as Hildegarde Schmidt and Willem Dafoe as Gerhard Hardman.

 

That’s quite the collection of big-name stars in one place!

 

The scenery in the movie was beautiful, and the music really helped set

the tones for each scene. This movie truly DESERVES to be seen on “the

big screen” rather than at home on our laptop or TV.

 

Based on the Agatha Christie novel by the same name, written in 1934,

and a re-make of the 1974 film by Sidney Lumet, if you have read the

book or seem the old film, you will already know “whodunit”, although I

would venture to say this version is still worth your time!

 

For everyone else, it’s a suspenseful, and heart wrenching mystery.

 

Hercule Poirot is a world renowned famous detective, and although he is

just trying to “get some rest” keeps being pressed into service to “pull

off miracles” in order to solve cases.

 

He is meticulous and cannot abide “unbalance”. There are many humorous

moments, in both Poirots actions and words, at the beginning and through

to the middle of the film.

 

Poirot is pulled aside at the last minute to ride the Orient Express,

ostensibly to travel to another job, but quickly finds himself embroiled

in a mystery that needs to be solved ON the train itself.

 

Those that have seen the 1974 version, or read the 1934 book already

know what the mystery is, but I do not want to reveal too much in this

review and synopsis.

 

I will say this: I was drawn in by the music, by the scenery, by the

initial humor of Poirot. I was kept captivated by the character

interactions, and the flash backs grabbed me. I had no idea who the

culprit was until right before the end, and the answer, or the reason

for it, when I figured it out, had me crying, hard.

 

Murder on the Orient Express is a very good movie. There was nothing

that I didn’t like about it. I would watch it again, and it would have

been totally worth paying to see.

 

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars.

 

Second review by Joseph K. Saunlier

Murder on the Orient Express is a mystery drama directed by, and starring, Kenneth Branagh and is based on the 1934 Agatha Christie novel of the same name.  The film brings in a spectacular cast alongside Branagh, including Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Michelle Pfeiffer and Daisy Ridley.  Also part of the main cast, while not well known, but equally as talented, are Tom Bateman, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr. and Lucy Boynton.

For those unfamiliar with the novel, or the 1974 and 2001 adaptations, Murder tells the story of, well… a murder.  On a train.  It’s really a lot more than that.  Branagh portrays Hercule Poirot, a famed Belgian detective who is looking forward to some time off. But during his travels, a most unfortunate thing happens.  Two things actually.  Someone is murdered aboard the train he is traveling on, the Orient Express (naturally).  And the murderer would’ve gotten away free and clear had storm not caused an avalanche, which thanks to a derailed engine, caused the train to become stuck and the body to be discovered.  Poirot’s friend, Bouc (Bateman), runs the train and requested that Poirot solve the mystery before the police arrive in fear of someone innocent being accused, and to save himself from a heyday with his father.  Can Poirot find out who is the killer between the star-studded cast?

I’ve read the novel.  Seen both adaptations.  This film blows those earlier adaptations out of the water.  There is no contest here.  Now clearly, nothing can beat the book.  But Murder is about as great a film you can get in the murky land of Hollywood these days.  As mentioned, Branagh directed and starred in the film, which he shot on 65 mm.  The last time he did this was with Hamlet in 1996.  It looked good then, and it looks even better now.  With eye-popping visuals throughout the entirety of the film, and a masterful soundtrack that seamlessly blended with the tones and themes of each scene, the film is a modern masterpiece.

It wasn’t without its faults.  (Most) every film has them.  And there are a lot of people who are upset with Branagh’s portrayal of Poirot, particularly the representation of his eccentric facial hair.  I am not one of those people.  I believe it, along with other amazing moments, lent a bit of humor to the movie to break up what should otherwise be, and is, a serious whodunit mystery.  Also, I felt they changed a few things in the adaptation that didn’t necessarily need to be changed.

I found it hard to sit and write about the film though.  Given the nature of a great mystery, I can’t tell you too much about it without risk of giving out crucial details to the plot and outcome.  So I will leave you with this, boys, girls, and everything in between and beyond… with a great and talented cast (bravo to Michelle Pfeiffer in particular) who nailed home their characters, to great visuals, and a great score, this movie is definitely one you want to catch.

4.5/5

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