Murder on the Orient Express is a 2017 film directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh. Sadly, I have not been able to write a review of this movie until now, despite covering it on the podcast about a month ago. I’ve been very busy with college work.
Murder on the Orient Express is an adaptation from the classic novel by Agatha Christie of the same name. It follows the famous Belgian Detective Hercule Poirot as he investigates a killing upon the Orient Express train. However, it is soon revealed that the case may be more complicated than originally thought.
I’m conflicted on this film. On one hand, it has a fantastic protagonist, and some good acting. However, on the other hand, the film is a bit sensationalized from the book, and despite it’s excellent cast, the movie never fully utilizes them. Hercule Poirot is a very charming protagonist. The movie introduces him expertly, and defines his character traits in the beginning very clearly. Kenneth Branagh is very likable, and his acting is fantastic in this film. That’s true for essentially all characters in this film. All are likable and function well within the story.
Sadly, the characters aren’t particularly memorable either. Despite this movie having one of the best casts in recent memory, it fails to use them much. William Dafoe is a very famous actor, and in this film he has a single scene. This is very disappointing, and feels like a missed opportunity. Additionally, this film feels very sensationalized from the book. Hercule Poirot is somewhat of an action hero in the film, whereas he’s much more reserved, and unlike in the film, he’s never shot. This feels rather strange, because on one hand, the movie sells itself as a sophisticated turn of the century mystery film, yet on the other hand it develops into die hard out of nowhere.
Overall, this movie is alright. It isn’t particularly memorable, but it’s a good film nonetheless. I think that they could’ve capitalized on the cast a bit more. If you’re considering watching this film, I highly recommend reading the book first.