Moustache on the Orient Express
What starts out as a lavish train ride through Europe quickly unfolds into one of the most stylish, suspenseful and thrilling mysteries ever told. From the novel by best-selling author Agatha Christie, "Murder on the Orient Express" tells the tale of thirteen strangers stranded on a train, where everyone's a suspect. One man must race against time to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again.
In keeping with the spirit of Sidney Lumet’s 1974 movie, this new adaptation of Agatha Christie's popular novel is packed with big names and rising talent. Personally I was excited to see Daisy Ridley in one of her first roles following new-found fame with the Star Wars franchise - and it was great to see older stars such as Willem Dafoe and Michelle Pfeiffer in roles fitting of their experience too. Quite funnily though, it proved difficult for any of the cast to seize attention away from Kenneth Branagh’s imposing facial appendage; I'm not sure how it missed getting billed on the poster. 😜
The well-known who-dunnit premise [spoiler alert! 😁] is that there's a murder on the lavish trans-continental train of the title - which then gets stuck in the middle of nowhere trapping the murderer, victim(s), and suspects alike. Quite fortuitously, it may seem, renowned detective Hercule Poirot is on board, and is quickly persuaded to solve the mysterious case. As clues are revealed, herrings uncovered, passengers interviewed, and whisky swigged - we are treated to insightful glimpses into the lives of the colorful characters, their flamboyant costumes, and their fake accents.
Hearing that Branagh (who directs as well as stars this time round) was shooting on 65mm came as a bit of a surprise to me really, since most of the scenes are known to occupy the interior of a train. Hats off to him though - he manages to fill each frame with cinematic detail (aside from a few oddly angled shots in the cramped corridors), and offers up some striking shots through the wilderness, both in the opening sequences and throughout the introductions, as well as later in the film when the plot is rocking along.
Towards the end there's a pretty odd scene where everyone's lined up at a table like its the Last Supper, which I'm sure will lead many to contemplate hidden meanings and messages - but personally I just really enjoyed the fun, over the top portrayals by some of my favorite Hollywood stars - and as long as you don't take it too seriously, it proves to be a good honest nights' entertainment.
The Bottom Line
Builds up steam soon after leaving the station, and is an enjoyable ride throughout. 👍