Movie Review: Murder on the Orient Express

Even though I am a huge fan of mysteries, I have actually never picked up an Agatha Christie novel, or have ever seen any adaptation of any of her works. (I have, however, played hidden object PC Game versions of at least two of her stories.) So, I came into this movie with the expectations that I would be treated to a visual treat, with great performances from an all star cast, and a great story. However, the film only delivers on around half of my expectations.

“Murder on the Orient Express” is another film adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel, which was directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also starred in the film as Hercule Poirot. The film also boasted an all-star cast which included Willem Dafoe, Dame Judi Dench, Drek Jacobi, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley,  Josh Gad, Penelope Cruz, Leslie Odom Jr., Tom Bateman, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Marwan Kenzari, Sergei Polunin, Olivia Colman and Lucy Boynton.

The story is fairly simple in its premise. Hercule Poirot (Branagh), the famous Belgian detective, finds himself on the famed Orient Express after being summoned to London to work on another case, despite the fact that he desperately wanted to be on holiday. While aboard, he meets a group of interesting people. After getting stranded due to an avalanche, a murder happens, and its up to Poirot to figure out who did it.

The visuals itself, the costumes, make-up and set were stunning and gorgeous. I love how they were able to re-create and re-capture the famed train in its heyday, to the point that I would also have loved to ride on that particular train.

Branagh gave an excellent performance as Poirot, and I was quite surprised that his mustache didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would, as that was my biggest worry and complaint when I first saw the trailer.

Technically speaking, I loved how, at certain points of the film, the camera angle changed, and allowed the audience to watch things unfold as if we were looking down on it, without the train’s roof, from a bird’s point of view.

Despite this, and the fact that the cast, aside from Branagh gave good performances, it felt as if the full potential of this wonderful group of actors and actresses were used to its potential.

Also, there was a lot of telling and not showing, which was the reason, I think that it didn’t really work as a murder mystery film. That, I think added to how I felt as if I wasn’t really solving the mystery alongside Poirot. Instead, we were just being given exposition dump after exposition dump.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy the film, as I watched it with my mother and younger brother, and because I rarely go out and see a film that isn’t a Disney movie, or a big blockbuster or highly anticipated film for the year.

In the end, “Murder on the Orient Express” was visually stunning, with a good performance from Branagh, but greatly misses the mark as a murder mystery film.

What did you think of “Murder on the Orient Express”? What did you like or not like about it? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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