Murder on the Orient Express stars Academy-Award nominee Kenneth Branagh as the world-renowned sleuth Hercule Poirot. Feeling burnt out Poirot decides to set out for a much needed holiday. However, the quirky detective quickly finds himself in the middle of yet another murder mystery when a passenger turns up dead during a routine trip on the Orient Express.
This is perhaps the most star-studded film of the year and with so much talent in one film I couldn’t wait to see Agatha Christie’s story come to life for a second time (it was first adapted for the screen in 1974).
Murder is a classic whodunnit mystery that I found entertaining from the very start. The acting, direction, production design and the story itself had me hooked. While not entirely perfect, I was impressed by how well everything came together. Murder is also a gorgeous looking film that really pops on the big screen.
Branagh is a ridiculously talented actor (this isn’t up for debate!) and I thought he did Poirot justice. As someone who has read about the great detective’s exploits in other Christie novels, it was fun to see the character come to life. He is someone who has devoted his life to solving the unsolvable and it’s more than just a job for him. It’s a calling, or rather an innate urge he feels compelled to act on.
Branagh is joined by fellow Academy-Award nominees Willem Dafoe, Johnny Depp, and Michelle Pfeiffer as well as Oscar winners Penelope Cruz and Dame Judi Dench. It is no surprise that each play their roles quite convincingly, making it difficult to pinpoint who is actually responsible for the cold-blooded murder. The same can certainly be said for the whole cast; Daisy Ridley plays Mary, a demure governess who seems to know Leslie Odom Jr‘s Dr. Arbuthnot, while MacQueen, played by Josh Gad, is a shady secretary who seems to be hiding something.
One of the best things about Murder is that you don’t understand the “who” and “why” until the final moments of the movie and when all is revealed you’re either surprised or something else altogether.
I also love the charming old-fashioned quality the movie possesses. We don’t see many films done in this old style anymore and I for one was able to truly appreciate it.
I must be honest and say that I’m confused by some critics’ negative opinions regarding the film. I have been a fan of the murder mystery genre ever since I saw Clue as a child, and it was quite gratifying to see a similarly well-done film as an adult. Understand that it isn’t a completely new take on the genre, it sticks pretty close to the formula, and there are some actors who are severely under-utilized, but overall it accomplishes what I think it set out to.
If you love a good mystery or suspenseful drama, I think you will enjoy!
Murder on the Orient Express is directed by Kenneth Branagh (yes he also directed!!) and scripted by Michael Green, based on the Agatha Christie novel of the same name. It stars Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Dafoe, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom Jr., Derek Jacobi, Lucy Boynton, Sergei Polunin, Tom Bateman, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Olivia Colman and Judi Dench.
What is YOUR favorite murder mystery? Let me know in the comments below!