Based on the Agatha Christie novel, Murder on the Orient Express gave me all the feels of a late night crime show without the paranoia of having to check out my window every commercial break. I initially planned on watching the original 1974 version before this remake, but I decided I wanted to have zero expectations when watching this latest rendition and I’m so glad I did.
In a nutshell, Murder on the Orient Express is pretty much a real-life version of the game Clue. Hercule Poirot, played by Kenneth Branagh (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets), is one of the greatest and most respected detectives of the mid-1930s. While returning from a finished case, he finds himself smack in the middle of a murder that occurs during a train ride from Istanbul to London that was to begin his much needed vacation. Reluctantly, he attempts to solve the murder through mastermind interrogation and a process of elimination of the thirteen passengers and now suspects on board.
While watching, I found myself studying every detail on the screen as if hoping to catch a clue or recognition of who the murderer was. I love murder mysteries that take the audience on a journey of problem-solving with them but I have to say, Express could have done a better job of involving the audience for this one. Truthfully, there were a lot of moments that felt confusing because the story development wasn’t progressed by intuition or character unraveling but by some knowledge that the detective was miraculously privy to that the audience was not. Still, this didn’t make me love the movie any less because if anything, it just made me want to watch it again and read the novel to see what I might have missed. After all, Agatha Christie is known as the world’s best-selling mystery writer and the “Queen of Crime.”
I don’t know what the future holds for any other Agatha Christie novels turned movies (which often feature the same characters), but I do hope to see more with Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot. He is exactly what I would have envisioned for a peculiar and idealized detective (I mean, have you seen that mustache?). Next time though, as director, perhaps he can direct with the audience a little more in mind.
If you like crime shows, I highly suggest you go out and see this movie. But just remember to lock your doors when you get home.
Murder on the Orient Express