Kenneth Branagh is a curious choice for Hercule, Agatha Christie’s seminal detective. Traveling on the trans-European train in the 1930s, a derailment and a murder give him time to grill the remaining passengers on the death of one of the passengers. That’s the plot of Christie’s famous work Murder on the Orient Express and Branagh takes on double duties behind the camera and as the lead for a beautifully crafted update of the piece.
The film isn’t a shot by shot remake, of course, but takes the original source material and adapts it one more time for film. With a stellar cast, and a winning story, it’s pretty hard to screw it up. And Branagh brings so much good to it to start with.
The film is spectacularly shot and crafted, especially early on. Branagh incorporates a lot of wide shots and CGI, to give us an idea of the majesty of the Orient Express. The film’s big moment, of an avalanche that derails the train and sets up the discovery of the body, is spectacular to watch. Branagh came in wanting to make this a bigger, better version of what it could be and has succeeded in many ways.
On the whole the film is gorgeous to look at and wouldn’t have been a shocker to see nominated for “Best Cinematography” at the Academy Awards. It’s a beautiful film.
The film’s main downside is that it doesn’t add much back into the original story. There’s nothing new or unique crafted onto the original story, outside of Branagh developing Hercule in a different way, that adds much back in.
Murder on the Orient Express is a good film bordering on great that is best appreciated by fans of the book and the original film.
There’s a volume of extras on the 4K that make it worth the purchase. It has a number of EPK pieces, of course, but there’s enough on it to make it worth a rental at a minimum.
20th Century Fox presents Murder on the Orient Express. Directed by Kenneth Branagh. Written by Michael Green, based on the novel by Agatha Christie. Starring Kenneth Branagh, Olivia Colman, Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom Jr., Josh Gad, Willem Dafoe, Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp, Derek Jacobi, Judi Dench, Marwan Kenzari. Run Time: 114 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released on: 2.27.18
Tags: Daisy Ridley, Derek Jacobi, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, judi dench, Kenneth Branagh, Leslie Odom Jr., Marwan Kenzari, murder on the orient express, Olivia Colman, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe