Murder on the Orient Express (2017)


Cast includes: Kenneth Branagh (Macbeth)
Director: Kenneth Branagh (Valkyrie), Daisy Ridley (Star Wars), Leslie Odom Jr. (Red Tails), Penélope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Jonny Depp (Edward Scissorhands), Derek Jacobi (The King’s Speech), Michelle Pfieffer (Batman Returns), Judi Dench (Skyfall), Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man)
Genre: Mystery | Drama (114 minutes) Based on a novel by Agatha Christie


Huffington Post

Jerusalem 1934, the eggs are not perfect… “Why do hens lay eggs of different sizes?” Meanwhile, the crowd gathers at the wall to learn the findings of world famous detective, Hercule Poirot, in the case of the priest, the rabbi and the imam. After the dramatic conclusion, Hercule Poirot is going to Istanbul for a little holiday. And he needs it… “I can only see the world as it should be. Every little imperfection makes life unbearable.” On the dock, Poirot soon overhears a hint of imperfection… “Not now. Not until it’s done.” But he intends to enjoy his holiday anyway… until he arrives in Istanbul and gets the telegram from the British government. An old friend with clout gets Poirot the last available compartment on the Orient Express… but not without stepping on toes. In the meantime, we see all the other passengers boarding and settling in. Snippets of conversation suggest it’s going to be an interesting journey. (Poirot locks it all away in his brain.) “Some men have a good look… all they have to do is keep their mouth shut,” says Caroline. She’s been “husband hunting abroad” but she does have standards… especially when Edward Ratchett puts the moves on.

Breakfast the next morning puts a smile on Poirot’s face… two perfect eggs. In the dining car, it’s “a tangle of strangers pressed together on a train with nothing in common, except to get from one place to another.” “You’re missing out on the romance.” “Romance never goes unpunished.” When Ratchett asks to join Poirot at his table, Poirot says, “I am happiest along.” Ratchett isn’t put off. He begins explaining that he’s an art dealer and “new to the game.” He explains about some unhappy customers and tells Poirot he wants to hire him. “I understand. I refuse,” says Poirot. “I want to hire you to watch my back. “I decline… I detect criminals. I do not protect them. I do not like your face.” As the train speeds northward through the alps, the scenery is breathtaking. But the next morning, when an avalanche suddenly derails the Orient Express, the train is stopped very precariously on a long, high bridge. Ultimately, when the train doesn’t arrive at the next station, they will send a rescue team. All the passengers have to do is wait… except Edward Ratchett, who doesn’t come to breakfast.

When Ratchett is found stabbed to death, Poirot is called upon to solve the case… perhaps a little diversion while the train is stuck… or maybe not. This version of Murder on the Orient Express is not dissimilar to other versions, yet it’s an enjoyable 2 hours. It’s an excellent cast and the cinematography is yummy. Kenneth Branagh is both the director and the lead character. His Poirot is slightly less stiff than some… but he doesn’t go too far afield with the character rendering. “I am probably the greatest detective in the world.” Yet there’s little sympathy for the unpleasant Ratchett. “If there was a murder; there was a murder,” he reminds the other passengers. When one of them prays, Poirot tells her, “God is always busy.” Poirot doesn’t expect the case to trip him up, even though it turns out to be a hard one… “If it were easy, I wouldn’t be famous.” Yet this one turns out to be humbling… It’s not just about guilt… “What is justice,” he has to ask himself.

popcorn rating

2 popped kernels

Agatha Christie’s famous detective Hercule Poirot is trapped on an exotic train with a body… and a murderer to find

Popcorn Profile

Rated: PG-13
Audience: Grown-ups
Gender Style: Neutral
Distribution: Mainstream Limited Release
Mood: Neutral
Tempo: Cruises Comfortably
Visual Style: Computer Effects
Nutshell: Agatha Christie/Hercule Poirot mystery
Language: Artful

Social Significance: Pure Entertainment

Comments welcome

Join our email list

©2018, Leslie Sisman | Design, website and content by Leslie Sisman