Kenneth Branagh has always been a great actor as well as director, so it seems like the perfect natural fit for him to tackle the remake of one of Christie’s most beloved works. I’m a huge fan of Agatha Christie, and Murder On The Orient Express is one of my favorite novels of hers alongside And Then There We’re None and Murder on the Nile, so naturally I was looking forward to this film and I’m also a big fan of murder mysteries. And while this remake isn’t perfect and does have some problems, it is an overall enjoyable watch.
The title is pretty self-explanatory story wise. There’s a murder on the orient express while Hercule Poirot, the best detective in the world, is on board and everyone is a suspect.
Kenneth Branagh is amazing here as Hercule Poirot, one of Agatha Christie’s most beloved creations. He inhabits the character perfectly, even though he doesn’t look much like him. The way he acts and solves the mystery is what matters, and Kenneth is perfect in the role. And the supporting cast are all great. Daisy Ridley, fresh of her first role in The Force Awakens, continues to be a delightful actress, one that has a bright future ahead of her. The rest of the supporting cast, one that includes Johnny Depp, Judie Dench, Josh Gad, William Dafoe, Penelope Cruz, Michelle Pfieffer are all great in their respective roles even though you don’t know much about everyone’s characters or personalities.
They aren’t likeable characters, and they’re not supposed to be, but it is hard to latch on to anyone else except Poirot when everyone he questions might be the killer, but its like that in most of Agatha Christie’s novels, with the exception of And Then There We’re None, where the characters are not all likeable but mostly all fleshed out.
The cinematography and camera work is also really good and the movie looks really nice and it’s great to see a period piece film, which we don’t have to many off nowadays. The costume and set designs are also great and really set the film in it’s time period and it’s really nice to see that they didn’t decide to update the film for modern audiences.
As for flaws, if you’ve read the novel or seen the remake (which I’ve done both), then there are really no surprises left in this film. The mystery is pretty easy to solve. On the opposite side, if you’ve never read the book or seen the original, then the movie doesn’t give you enough clues to solve the mystery, which might frustrate the average viewer. Also the film is too long. 1h40 would probably have been the perfect runtime instead of it being 2 hours, which does have its downside.
Overall, Murder On The Orient Express is a fun, entertaining mystery, with good performances and a nice production design, and is faithful to the source material, but nothing much beyond that.