A Tangle of Strangers

Murder on the Orient Express

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Penelope Cruz, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Lucy Boynton, Olivia Colman, Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, Leslie Odom Jr. Tom Bateman

Oscar nominee Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn) both stars as the infamous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot  and directs another remake of the classic Agatha Christie novel Murder on the Orient Express featuring a stunning cast including Oscar nominees Michelle Pfeiffer (Dangerous Liaisons, The Fabulous Baker Boys), Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street) and Oscar winners Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) and Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love).

Sporting a profoundly massive mustache, Branagh takes Hercule Poirot to new extremes in this 21st century remake which is glossy and possesses sumptuous production design but like all extremely long train journeys is boring in the middle, despite the spectacular scenery.

Murder on the Orient Express is set in 1934 and starts off promisingly with a fantastic opening, attention grabbing scene at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and then moves on to the Orient Express, a luxury train service which travels from the chaotic train station in Istanbul right across Europe to Paris.

As the gangster Edward Ratchett is found murdered in his compartment, stabbed multiple times everybody becomes a suspect on the Orient Express and soon Poirot has to interview all the cast as the train is stuck in an icy tunnel somewhere over Yugoslavia. A tangle of strangers confined to a luxury train which has gone off the rails.

Everybody is not what they seems, which is natural considering this is an Agatha Christie novel and while the cast does an admirable job, it is really Michelle Pfeiffer who wows audiences with her demure yet slightly vicious portrayal of globetrotting husband seeker Caroline Hubbard who stands out among a fairly impressive ensemble cast. Pfeiffer really acts.

Dame Judi Dench’s turn as Princess Dragomiroff is hardly noticeable, while the best scenes in the film are between Pfeiffer and Branagh.

It is refreshing to see Michelle Pfeiffer making such a glorious big screen come back as she truly is a brilliant actress, not to mention singer – for she also sang the film’s original song at the end.

Without revealing who the killer is, needless to say Kenneth Branagh will be returning with another big screen adaptation of an Agatha Christie novel, Death on the Nile. Should be fascinating if only he would curb that mustache.

Audiences that enjoyed the original seventies film adaptations of the Agatha Christie novels, will enjoy this ambitious if slightly flawed remake. Think Evil Under the Sun.

Recommended viewing but whether the film will dazzle at the box-office in an increasingly cluttered 21st century CGI film line-up remains to be seen. Murder on the Orient Express gets a film rating of 7 out of 10.

 

 

 

Comments are closed.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
December 2017
M T W T F S S
« Nov   Jan »
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
  • ‘Portlandia’: Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein Pick Their Proudest Musical Moments
    It doesn’t take a lot of dot-connecting genius to figure why music was a crucial component of “Portlandia,” which recently wrapped its eighth and final season. The host city is a rock town, but more than that, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein came of age in the punk scene, although that was her initial claim […]
    chrislwillman
  • How Long Will TV and Film’s Boom Market for Female Stories Last?
    NANTUCKET, Mass. — The #MeToo moment and the push for gender parity in Hollywood has opened doors for women artists in the film and TV business in the past year, but there are concerns that the appetite for female-led stories could be a “worryingly trendy conversation.” That’s how showrunner Sera Gamble put during a panel […]
    Cynthia Littleton
  • Film Review: ‘Ideal Home’
    “Ideal Home,” a featherweight big-screen sitcom in which Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd play testy romantic partners who wind up as parental caretakers of a 10-year-old boy, is the perfect example of how a movie can be progressive and retrograde at the same time. It’s supposed to feel cutting edge that Coogan and Rudd, who […]
    Owen Gleiberman
  • ‘Game of Thrones’ Stars Rose Leslie and Kit Harington Married in Scotland
    The Royal Wedding, part two? “Game of Thrones” stars Rose Leslie and Kit Harington were married Saturday in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The pair began dating in 2012 after meeting on “Game of Thrones” and announced their engagement in September 2017. Their nuptials were attended by several members of the “Game of Thrones” cast, including Peter Dinklage, […]
    Erin Nyren
  • Seth Rogen Says He Rejected Paul Ryan’s Request for a Photo
    Like most of Hollywood, Seth Rogen has made his displeasure with the current administration and its activities clear. And evidently, that displeasure extends to denying photo ops to Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. Rogen recounted the story Friday while on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” The “Preacher” co-creator, as a longtime proponent […]
    Erin Nyren