“Everyone is a suspect.”
Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Written by: Michael Green (Based on the Novel by Agatha Christie)
Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Josh Gad, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Dafoe, Leslie Odom Jr., Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Derek Jacobi, Sergei Polunin, Lucy Boynton, Olivia Colman (And the rest of Hollywood)
The Josh Chop: Honestly I’m kind of getting sick of films being remade. In this case I didn’t mind it, because I never saw the other 2 versions. (the ’70s film or the TV show) The amount of talent oozing from this feature should have ensured a great film. Instead it was a good film mostly about how far pain can reach after someone has been murdered. The film felt like the movie Clue on a train but a lot less funny, yet still intriguing.
Hercule Poirot (pronounced: Ercule Pwarow) (Branagh) a Belgian man with a ridiculous mustache is an odd duck of a detective. He’s very particular about balance in all aspects. He has a way of “Seeing the world how it should be” and when it’s not the way it should be, it stands out like a sore. With that said, he’s pretty much Sherlock Holmes but a lot less annoying than the Sherlock we’ve seen recently and without the cocaine addiction. He is, in his own words: “Probably the greatest detective in the world.” And in this world- he probably is.
Poirot is finally heading home for a much needed and well deserved holiday. From what we can see, he’s been on the road for a long time. On his way home he encounters an old friend who ensures him a quick passage home on the Orient Express. I thought of this train as something like a fancy private jet of the time period.
On the train we meet a wide variety of passengers: a princess (Dench), a missionary (Cruz), a widow (Pfeiffer), a doctor (Odom Jr.) and an art dealer who’s really a gangster (Depp). There are actually eight other passengers worth mentioning, but do you really want me to name them all? We meet them one by one and the film does a pretty decent job of introducing each character separately which I enjoyed.
Soon Poirot is approached by Edward Ratchett (Depp) who says he’s an art dealer. He explains to Poirot that unfortunately he’s made some mistakes in his new business and has made some enemies. In actuality he’s been scamming people and now he thinks someone is out to get him and kill him. Poirot sees right through Ratchett and declines Ratchett’s request to be his bodyguard.
In the middle of the night two things happen – Rtachett is murdered, and the train is derailed and stopped from an avalanche hitting the locomotive. Wouldn’t luck have it that Poirot is on the train and now has the time to solve the murder. Poirot somewhat reluctantly agrees to work to solve this and begins to interview each passenger on the train. Can Poirot solve the case before the train reaches its destination? A classic case of who-done-it makes this film an interesting watch.
Murder on the Orient Express took its time exploring most of the other characters on the train. If you’ve read the book by Agatha Christie, you’ll know how the story ends, but of course I won’t ruin it for you here. While this film isn’t necessarily a long film, I felt like there was a lot going on and a lot of backstories explained and delved in to.
There really is quite a spectacular cast in this film, but I’d dare to say that the best performances were given by the younger cast members. My favorites were from Josh Gad and Leslie Odom Jr. I did enjoy Branagh as Poirot, and in the end I was deeply satisfied by Michelle Pfeiffer’s performance.
Even with a brilliant cast, I felt the pacing of certain points were a bit boring yet still intriguing. I really enjoy mystery stories, and in the end I definitely enjoyed finding out who had murdered Ratchett. I found myself feeling bored at certain parts but still interested in what would happen next (quite a weird feeling). All in all the film was good, but the best performances and the really exciting part is the climax. It just took a long while to get exciting.