Murder on the Orient Express loses its train of thought

November 28, 2017

 COURTESY IMDB.COM

(L-R) Manuel Garcia- Rulfo as Biniamino Marquez, Daisy Ridley as Miss Mary Debenham, and Leslie Odom Jr. as Dr. Arbuthnot in the film adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. 

 

When the Murder on the Orient Express trailer dropped, I was immediately awed by the snowy backdrop in hopes that it would reflect in El Paso’s weather soon.


 But, where it succeeded visually in costuming and vibes, it lacked in story and character development.

 

Perhaps if Martin Scorsese had directed I would consider this film worthy of an Oscar nomination. 


Aboard this train were director and protagonist Kenneth Branagh, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Michelle Pfeiffer and Daisy Ridley among others; up to par acting was the least that one should expect from the performances.

 
Branagh portrayed an exceptional “Hercule Poirot,” the detective called upon to solve the murder mystery.

 

His acting kind of gave me the same sensation that Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of Georges Méliès did in Hugo. 


There was an essence of authenticity in his acting that I could pick up in the first couple of minutes he was introduced.

 

The other characters had very few emotions in comparison and when it comes down to it, were really just props to Poirot.


After having just seen Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them I wasn’t particularly excited to see him attempt to transform himself into another character so soon. In the end he didn’t do too badly but with every additional role he takes part in, I’m expecting it to take a toll on a film’s credibility. 


Murder on the Orient Express definitely delivered drama as was promised in the previews. I enjoyed the narrator’s approach to help tell the story. 


However, it would have been wiser to have spent less time on gaining suspense and instead more backstory to gain sympathy for the victim from the viewer. 


Those who read the book or saw the trailer were already anticipating solving the mystery, any extra was unnecessary hype.

 

I enjoyed watching the final act unfold but I wanted more of a challenge.

 

There wasn’t enough explanation or dialogue from each person for me to suspect their motives for the crime at hand. 


The audience will be left with a conclusion but it won’t feel as gratifying as in other movies or television shows.


 About halfway through the film I was able to predict the murderer but even if it wasn’t obvious to everyone, it definitely wasn’t a huge shock. 


Death on the Nile, another novel written by Agatha Christie, is already in motion for a sequel following the adventures of Hercule Poirot.

 

His character was the most captivating so I am willing to see him face another case and analyze new personalities. 


From the get-go I knew that at least two-thirds of Murder on the Orient Express was to take place on a train but I didn’t realize the limitations that a singular set would present. 


That aspect alone made the film feel static on top of the one-dimensional characters. 


If you are looking for a cozy winter movie to watch you might be better off just watching The Polar Express again. 


And if you have time and money to spare, Murder on the Orient Express wasn’t totally tedious, it just wasn’t phenomenal. I rate this film 3 out of 5 stars but I am hoping for better execution in the sequel. 

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