In an adaption of a classic murder mystery, “Murder on the Orient Express” hit theaters November 12, 2017.
The film features an all-star cast with an all-star story. As an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s much-loved Poirot mystery, it had big shoes to fill. The question is, however, did it do this?
Unfortunately, I did not go into the film spoiler-free. I have loved the novel and the Poirot series television adaptation for a while. Therefore, I knew the ending before I walked in. The rest of the audience, however, will be very surprised with the ending.
The story follows harsh, unlikable detective Poirot in 1934, a Belgian with an outrageous mustache. After a previous case goes sour, Poirot is called back to London on yet another case. In the way to finding passage to London from Istanbul, he runs in to his friend Bouc (Tom Bateman), a train conductor who has a space open on his train, the Orient Express. In the trouble finding a compartment, he meets the unlikely cast of characters on the train. When a horrible tragedy occurs, it is up to Poirot to find out the who-dun-it.
The all-star cast does deliver- with Kenneth Branagh as Poirot, Johnny Depp as Samuel Ratchett, a salesman with a bad background, (who luckily was not as bad as I was fearing), Michelle Pfeiffer as Mrs. Hubbard (a women who loves to talk), Daisy Ridley as Mary Debenham (the governess with a secret), Leslie Odom Jr. as Dr. Arbuthnot (a military colonel turned doctor), Judi Dench as Princess Dragomiroff (a Russian princess), Josh Gad as MacQueen (a secretary with an alcohol problem), Penélope Cruz as Miss Pilar Estravados (a missionary), and even more interesting characters, including a violent count and his countess, an Austrian scholar, a car salesman, and even a pair of small dogs.
Every single actor shown in the movie truly played their part well. There was not a single actor who I felt did not deliver. Even Josh Gad, who unfortunately has had a monopoly on roles featuring the “humorous fat one” was given an in-depth developed character, and played it well. Branagh truly played to stuck-up, law-abiding Poirot extremely well.
The cinematography was amazing. The scenery and the camera angles really proved to add to the elements in the story, as well as capturing the feeling of being on the close, cramped quarters of a train. The bright colors of the snow and much of the lighting really contrasted with the dark and series scenes dealing with the murder and the stressful case.
The story did not change much from the original, however they did try to embellish a little to add suspense, which fell flat at some sections. Luckily, though, they did stay true to the original. I have seen some reviews saying that the film did not really add much to the movie, which I unfortunately agree with. The movie did not feel necessary… While it was a very engaging movie, I did not think that is was a needed adaptation.
With a 58 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the main consensus is that the cast and the style keep the film going. Even with this score, I still believe that everyone who loves a classic murder mystery should see this film- maybe even multiple times just to notice everything that points to the true culprit.