Benjamin Maio Mackay
Murder on the Orient Express - 0.5 Stars
Despite its lavish scenery this garbled mess of a movie does not do justice to Agatha Christie’s fine novel.
A lavish train ride unfolds into a stylish & suspenseful mystery. From the novel by Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express tells of thirteen stranded strangers & one man's race to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again.
Murder on the Orient Express is perhaps Agatha Christie’s most famous novel, there have been numerous adaptations for TV, radio and film and the novel itself is one of the most sold books of all time. Therefore when adapting for a new film the questions is what will they change - apparently they decided to remove all aspects of Hercule Poirot’s iconic character and replace him with a ludicrous, action hero with a stupidly large, distracting moustache. Fans of the books will instantly see flaws with how Brannah’s Poirot interacts with people, moves through the world and most importantly solves the crime.
Also the new/changed material does not enrich the material in any way, it makes in seem more generic. The cast treats this more like a melodrama than a murder-mystery and it is disappointing to see such a waste of great talent (Michelle Pfeiffer, Derek Jacoby, Judi Dench etc.) The cinematography is frankly, unusual. Kenneth Branagh is well known for his use of “duch angles” and these don’t suit the film, he also films a rather long conversation from above the train corridor, so all one sees is the tops of the character’s heads. A choice, which I can’t see any logic for. The music is used for misdirection more than anything else and it does a rather poor job of that, however the closing credits song (sung by Pfeiffer) is rather good.
Overall scenically beautiful, but lacking elsewhere. One to miss.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of 20th Century Fox