Review: Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Murder on the Orient Express.

This retelling of the classic Agatha Christie novel has a lot to live up to, I think this is at least the third time this movie has been made. This version brings together an A-list cast and an accomplished director, but does it manage to make a lasting impression?

The gist.

Detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) is on a train when suddenly someone is murdered. Luckily, he’s the best in the business and he immediately starts deducing which guest just might be a killer.

Our esteemed cast includes Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Daisy Ridley, Dame Judi Dench, Leslie Odom Jr., Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, and Michelle Pfeiffer. It is also directed by Kenneth Branagh.

What works?

This is all-star cast and they all do a great job with what they’re given, though some of them are given almost nothing to do. The standout (for me) was probably Pfeiffer but Branagh as the lead was great as well, though I could see some audiences reacting negatively to his incredibly outlandish demeanor (and appearance).

The setting works nicely here, the train able to feel large and full but also claustrophobic when it needs to be.

What doesn’t work?

The movie felt underwhelming. Maybe I had really high hopes but I felt like it didn’t resolve in a satisfying way. The murder mystery is almost too complicated, that I lost track of what was happening, maybe intentionally. When the whole thing came to a close, I didn’t feel satisfied.

Some of this is because the immense cast gets spread too thin. It’s hard to care about some of these characters if you only get one scene with them and you still don’t understand who they are. A few of these characters had big reveals and I hadn’t learned enough about them to be shocked at all.

This movie just had quite a few missed opportunities for me, actors that never got to shine and mysteries that didn’t pay off.

Overall…

I’m a huge fan of ensemble murder mysteries and this one unfortunately gets very little right. It has an astounding cast that it does absolutely nothing with and its legendary resolution comes across sloppy and disorienting. Maybe a good watch for a Sunday afternoon but not a good pick for the big screen.

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About adamryen

Entertainment. Gaming. Dreaming.
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