Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

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Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express is a 2017 mystery film directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh with the ensemble cast consisting of Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley and Judi Dench among others. It is a stupendous, very underrated adaptation.

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My name is Hercule Poirot

and I am probably the greatest detective in the world

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Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

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I really enjoyed this film and it took me by surprise how good and competent it actually is. Kenneth Branagh is the major person responsible for the quality of this film as he is both an actor and a director here and he excelled at both roles. He directed the movie so well and added such a cinematic feel to it which was quite welcome and that made it a worthy trip to the theatre.

His Hercule Poirot is so much better than Albert Finney’s one and thus this movie is so much better than the previous overrated version. His acting and characterization here is the definition of changing yet staying the same. The core of the character remains the same – eccentric, meticulous and very elegant – but he is now also very funny and quite energetic as well. And thus his Poirot is different, original and the character just worked and felt alive without ever being a pale imitation of its former self. And Branagh here is absolutely amazing and definitely awards worthy as his performance is unbelievably strong, emotional and real.

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Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

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But all of the others did an amazing job as well. Murder on the Orient Express is one of the rare movies which not only relies on an ensemble cast but also gives each of its actors and actresses a lot to do and they all gave absolutely terrific performances. Let’s start with Pfeiffer who really excelled here and surprised me how good of an actress she can be. She is fragile, tortured and emotional here and probably stole the show from the rest of the cast.

Penelope Cruz is also much better than she usually is, Willem Dafoe is also good but underutilized and the same goes for Judi Dench. Johnny Depp was really miscast as Ratchett. He just was not suitable for this pig and murderer of a man. Derek Jacobi and Josh Gad are both excellent and quite emotional. I liked that Arbuthnot was a black man here and that it was very well explained how he became a doctor in that racist period.

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Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

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Daisy Ridley also surprised me with her very strong performance and also how she looked so well and real in this thirties period which brings me to the technical aspects. Wow, is this film gorgeous. Istanbul looked fantastic and I loved how cinematic the film felt owing to many beautiful wide shots and interesting filming choices where not all scenes were filmed in the train, but also outside in the snow. The costumes looked exquisite and again awards worthy as is the score which is frequently quite moving and accompanying the emotional scenes so well. The attention to detail is amazing as the film recreated the 30s period so well.

This film has its many problems. Poirot again yells a lot and although the film’s first act is very good and the third act is emotional, dramatic and with phenomenal dialogue, the second act is really problematic as it is slower in pace and too many plot points from the book were changed. I did not love the pandering to the American audience by introducing unnecessary action sequences which were to me highly annoying here. But other than that, it is a very strong adaptation.

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Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

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The 2017 adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express is much better than the previous overrated version thanks to such a lovely cinematic approach with excellent wide shots, beautiful locations, exquisite costumes and moving score. The attention to detail is amazing as the film recreated the thirties period so well. The second act is definitely problematic as it’s too action oriented and different from the novel, but the first is very good and the third is excellent and quite emotional with great dialogue. Its ensemble cast is great and every actor gave a strong performance with the highlights being Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad and Daisy Ridley. But the reason to see it lies in Kenneth Branagh’s involvement as he not only excelled in the director’s chair but also gave a stupendous, awards worthy performance and a new, different and ultimately commendable version of Hercule Poirot.

My Rating – 4

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Posted in 2010s, 2017, FILM DECADES, MOVIE REVIEWS, Mystery and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

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