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Murder on the Orient Express : Movie Review

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It’s been nearly two decades since the last incarnation of this Agatha Christie murder mystery, and nearly half a century since the most famous adaptation by Sydney Lumet. In keeping with the star-studded cast of the latter, Kenneth Branagh’s venture into the world of Hercule Poirot includes an impressive cast along with an impressive infamous mustache. Branagh is a veteran of adaptations so it comes as no surprise that he would tackle Murder on the Orient Express. It’s worth noting that Branagh shot in 65mm, making sure to capture his latest endeavor in one of the best formats possible.

It’s essentially Clue on a train, with the eccentric and infamous detective Hercule Poirot at the forefront. Branagh serves as director and stars as Pirot, who at the start of the film boards the train seeking a little r&r only to be thrown into one of the toughest cases of his career. Pirot is joined aboard by a seemingly random group of passengers, one of which is murdered in his sleeper car nearly next to Pirot who must now solve the inconspicuous puzzle.

Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Dame Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer and many more join the cast and each play the possible murderous culprit in this classic whodunnit. Along with the insane amount of movie stars, the expansive set was also quite impressive. The most notable shot of both of these is at the very start of the train ride, where we encounter a glimpse into each compartment and character aboard the Orient Express. Every star gets their moment to shine as Poirot interviews each suspect, and each actor does well in their portrayal.

Branagh as Poirot is immensely charming prior to the murder, and I hope the movie succeeds and allows for more of Branagh’s detective. I’ve only seen clips of other actors’ take on the famous detective and Branagh is easily at the top of the heap. As I’ve never read Agatha Christie, I’m not certain how much of Poirot’s clever dialogue was borrows from Christie or how much was inserted by writer Michael Green. Either way, he is a fun character to watch and follow as he unravels the case.

Older generations will enjoy revisiting this classic mystery. I never read Agatha Christie, so I am not sure how any fans of the original novel will feel about this adaptation but I hope they’ll enjoy it. At times the plot might seem contrived and stereotypical but Christie is one of the original sources of many recurring tropes that we’ve grown weary of. I wish there had been more suspense at times and higher stakes at parts other than at the climax. This is not the non-stop thriller we’re now accustomed to, but a revisit to one of the most famous tales with updates themes. The movie serves to introduce a new generation to a classic.

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
  Director:  Kenneth Branagh
Studio:  Fox
Genre:  Crime, Drama
MPAA:  PG-13
Release Date:  November 10th, 2017
Author:  Roxy De La Rosa
Roxy de la Rosa Roxy and her dogs are San Diego natives all hailing from Baja. She is a graduate of SDSU with a bachelor's degree in Television, Film, and New Media Production. Roxy is a huge comedy film and sitcom fan who hopes to become a TV writer, but for now she spends her time "researching" Netflix when she should be writing.

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