Movie Review: “Murder On the Orient Express” – Epic Mustache

Written by Eduard Sviridenko November 17, 2017

Murder on the Orient Express

Agatha Christie’s novel, Murder on the Orient Express, is one of the most famous detective stories in all Western literature. Anyone who is interested in detective stories knows exactly whodunnit. On the one hand, such a glory of a novel draws attention to any of its screen versions. On the other hand, the general notoriety of the denouement deprives the setting of the film’s fascination. Instead of trying to solve the case together with Poirot, most of the audience is patiently waiting for the detective to discover the clue of which they’re already aware. How to solve this problem? Kenneth Branagh knows the answer. He relies on casting the most famous Hollywood actors for his all-new Murder on the Orient Express.

In case you haven’t read the book, Murder on the Orient Express is period piece, classic murder mystery set on a train. Detective Hercule Poirot (played by Kenneth Branagh) is a passenger, and his particular skill set becomes necessary when another passenger is murdered. In addition to other star actors – such as Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, and Michelle Pfeiffer -, the film attracts its audience with its style and action. The film features magnificent winter landscapes, beautiful scenery and costumes, and several short action scenes. Besides, the movie has more humour and emotions than any other Christie screen adaptation.

“I see evil on this train.”

Is all this enough to make Murder on the Orient Express good? No. Unfortunately, the advantages of the movie overlap with its significant disadvantages. First of all, it greatly simplifies the puzzle that Poirot faces. The characters lie less and poorly hide the truth; he doesn’t have to puzzle for a long time to get to the truth. At the same time, Poirot, in a manner quite unusual to him in books, complains that the matter is too complicated and that it puts him in a dead end. “The greatest detective in the world” should cause admiration, not pity.

Murder on the Orient Express

Hercule Poirot makes some pretty obvious mistakes while trying to solve the case. But even a novice detective would never make those mistakes. For someone used to solving crime, and who knows he’s surrounded by murder suspects, he should be more careful.  But perhaps I shouldn’t pay much attention to these flaws. After all, Poirot played safe and said he was only “probably” the “greatest detective in the world”.

“Do not trust a one, not one of them.”

Given the star cast, the acting should be a source of pleasure. Indeed, there really isn’t much to complain about. However, given the abundance of heroes, none of them are given enough time to create a truly unique image. This leads to the fact that none of the characters are truly memorable, although there were plenty of opportunities for them to be.

Murder on the Orient Express

Nevertheless, it’s worth paying tribute to the director. Branagh managed to create something that looks worthy, something of its own. He tried to bring a detective story to the level of a parable, a portrait of an era, a psychological paradox, and a reflection on the topic of justice. Obviously, all of this was originally created by Christie, but Branagh paid special attention to these aspects. He had the correct pitch, dynamics, atmosphere of secrecy, and theatrical pathos that brings the story to a new level.

“We’re surrounded by lies!”

With all its flaws, Murder on the Orient Express was impressive. It would be better to watch it without knowing the plot and the outcome of the original story, but a pleasure is guaranteed regardless. At the very least, thanks to Poirot’s epic moustache.

My Rating: 7/10

Murder on the Orient Express

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