I am a part of the group that has never read Murder on the Orient Express or any other Agatha Christie book, so I got to go into this one with no spoilers. Granted I am not a fan of reading in general, so yay for not reading being a positive! I have somehow not seen any of the movies, mini-series, or television shows based on the properties. Then again I love a good mystery and there have been several adaptations and iterations.
When the first trailer for the movie came out, I was sold … until the Imagine Dragons song started blasting and Poirot claimed he was the greatest detective on the world from behind what might be the greatest mustache on the world. The plot, cast, and visuals looked fantastic so it stayed on the top of my list for movies I was excited to see. Now that I have seen it, what is my rating?
I would give it 8 “double mustaches” out of 10.
FOR THE UNINITIATED
While on holiday / en route to his next crime scene, Hercule Poirot stumbles upon a murder. Things are not what they seem since everyone seems to have a motive, so it is up to the self proclaimed world’s greatest detective to solve the case before the criminal escapes or the wrong person is blamed.
Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Written by: Michael Green
Based on Novel by: Agatha Christie
Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom Jr., Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Penelope Cruz, Josh Gad, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judy Dench, Olivia Colman, and Willem Dafoe
The way everything works together to build tension and keep the mystery going is near perfect. The camera work and visuals are fantastic and help give a sense of claustrophobia even though the possible escape was just outside. The establishing shot for the train and several other characters was one of the more memorable scenes of the movie. It was a one take filmed from the outside through several cars tracking Poirot and Michelle Pfeiffer’s character. The second most memorable shot was once the victim was discovered and the camera transitioned above everyone that used the characters to frame the scene. The pacing was also on point. Every time the story began to slow down, something would happen which ramped up the action or further propelled the plot.
The worst part was the ending and all the coincidences along the way. Without going into spoilers, it is frustrating that I didn’t figure out the mystery. It is also fairly frustrating how everything ended, but that could have been the way the book ended. I just didn’t feel like the scales of justice were balanced as the movie up to that point made sure to dictate they should.
Murder on the Orient Express is a fantastically shot and wonderfully acted movie with a very compelling mystery. It is a movie worth seeing on the big screen thanks to the cinematography and score. Take some friends, grab a large popcorn, and have fun making guesses who the killer is going to be … unless they have read the book. Then they can go, they just cannot discuss anything.
My favorite mystery movie of late is definitely Gone Girl. Directed by David Fincher (one of the great mystery directors) and starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as an estranged couple. She goes missing after the house is ransacked and her blood is found, so naturally the husband is blamed. It is up to him to solve the mystery and leave the clues left by his wife before it is too late. If you never saw it, don’t research it and go watch it immediately.