Directed by: Kenneth Branagh.
Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Judy Dench, Josh Gadd, Willem Defoe, Derek Jacobi
Plot: During some intended downtime following a series of high profile cases, professional sleuth Hercule Poirot is plunged into yet another mystery whilst travelling on the luxurious Orient Express.
The stories of Agatha Christie have been adapted many times for stage & screen to varying degrees of success, now none other than Kenneth Branagh takes up the helm of a big screen adaptation of arguably one of Christie’s best known mysteries. So, how does this effort from the renowned thesp turned director fair?
This adaptation of Murder On The Orient Express is enjoyable for the most part though not without its failings. Though beautifully shot with an exquisite, well realised sense of time & place and excellent assembled ensemble cast, there are issues with pacing and the cast really is quite a dazzling array of talent which is, unfortunately to the films detriment, underused. Kenneth Branagh’s take on our favourite Belgian sleuth is by no means completely note perfect but the fella can certainly hold a tune as the famous detective and Johnny Depp does his shady, up to no good act on cue though the likes of Daisy Ridley, Josh Gadd, Judy Dench and Derek Jacobi are criminally underused however.
Murder On The Orient Express succeeds for the most part in being an entertaining and classy murder mystery, yes there are noticeably prevalent pacing issues and wafer-thin characterisation for the supporting players which is jarring but it doesn’t completely ruin the proceedings, it really isn’t that bad a shot at Christie’s novel. MOTOE is quite obviously a shot at establishing a new franchise for Christie’s Poirot mysteries and I think I’d be happy with more films if my issues with this film were addressed. For the most part It remains relatively faithful throughout to it’s source material and delivers a sumptuous old school murder mystery on a gorgeous platter.