My rating IMDb Rotten Tomatoes
Critics Audience Critics Audience
8/10 53/100 6.8/10 58% 62%
Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist in history, outsold only by the Bible and William Shakespeare. It’s no mystery, then, why her stories are adapted either for television or for the movies.
Murder on the Orient Express is probably one of her most famous novels, with a well-known film version in 1974, which featured a star-studded cast, including Ingrid Bergman, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her portray of Greta, and Albert Finney playing the great Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.
One could argue that there was no need for a remake, but the latest version of Murder on the Orient Express feels fresh and new and has its own stellar cast to introduce this intriguing story to younger audiences.
After solving a case in Jerusalem, detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) is looking forward to returning home for a vacation. Before he’s able to do so, however, receives a telegram urging him to go back to London. He decides to take the Orient Express since he knows its manager.
What should be a relaxing three-day trip quickly turns into a crime scene when gangster Edward Ratchett (Johnny Depp) is found dead in this cabin and the train is stuck due to a snow avalanche. All other passengers are suspects and Hercule Poirot begins to interrogate each one to find the guilty.
Kenneth Branagh not only plays the detective, with probably the biggest mustache in recent movie history, but he also directs the thriller and is able to keep the pacing interesting. His Hercule Poirot is often funny, with great replies and an accent that is only overshadowed by the mustache.
The rest of the cast includes Dame Judi Dench, Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom Jr., Penélope Cruz, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Michelle Pfeiffer, Olivia Colman, Lucy Boynton, and Willem Dafoe.
Given the big number of characters and the small time devoted to each one, their potential are not fully reached, but some of the actors manage to find space to give good performances. Josh Gad, who is having a great year with 3 movies and the upcoming Olaf’s short, is great as Hector MacQueen, and Judi Dench, Olivia Colman, and Michelle Pfeiffer are always a delight to watch.
The best one, however, is Kenneth Branagh, who finds all of Hercule Poirot’s funny quirks and fully embraces them, making him even more interesting.
The climax, where Poirot finally tells the audience what happened in the train, could have been a bit more exciting, but it doesn’t change the greatness of the twist (probably already known by many viewers before even going to the movies).
Although it is true that we are in an era of remakes, sequels, and adaptations, this one is a welcomed one, since the Orient Express never loses its charm.