Murder on the Orient Express is a mystery directed by Kenneth Branagh and also stars him as the main character Hercule Poirot. Hercule is possibly the world’s greatest detective who is riding on a train that ends up becoming snow bound after an avalanche. To top it off in the middle of the night there was a gruesome murder which Hercule is asked by his friend Bouc (Tom Bateman), who works for the train company, to solve said murder. Hercule finds many clues, though it seems as if they are left on purpose and misleading as they tend to put blame on many if not all the passengers of the Orient Express making the case that much harder to crack.
The passengers of the Orient Express are played by an awesome cast consisting of William Dafoe, who in my eyes is always welcome in a movie because he never disappoints with his solid acting and that stands true in this one as well. We also have Johnny Depp who brings his beloved charisma to a seemingly sneaky and devious character. Michelle Pfeiffer is pleasant to see in this movie bringing no real complaints or praise. Kenneth Branagh plays his awkward and estranged detective well, making you believe the character does have issues with seeing grey in a world he believes to be black and white. Penelepe Cruz and Judi Bench both doing a solid job. Now we come to Daisy Ridley who is relatively new to Hollywood and does a great job in the movie and showing her range as an Actress. She does nothing extremely special in this movie but the fact that I didn’t think I was watching Rey from star wars the whole time makes me feel as if though she did a good job immersing herself into a relatively simple yet important character.
There is something to be said about the way this movie was shot as well. Almost the entire movie takes place on the train, the Orient Express. This being so there are a lot of narrow hallways and small rooms as there is limited space on a train. The hallways are shot mostly from one end looking down straight to the other end, which is a very simple still shot just showing the characters movements with no flashy camera movement or following them. In the sleeping quarters the room are very small so fitting multiple characters in a room is tight, so instead of making movie magic and fitting the camera in you get a very interesting and refreshing still shot from above looking down. While looking down you only see the top of the characters heads and a dead body in one scene. You only hear the characters talking and the camera stays still breaking the general rule of having an angle change every three to five seconds. This is refreshing to see a camera sit still for so long, breaking the norm and also does a great job of showing the restrictive space of the train and giving you an immersive feeling to the environment.
The movie as many know is based on a book written by Agatha Christie. As someone who has not read the book I enjoyed the movie. One person who read the book (my wife) informed me that she did not like a couple of changes they made in the movie. She informed me that Hercule actually didn’t have as much trouble in the book figuring out the case which I felt would have made the movie less fun and there was more of a dramatic ending in the movie that was added in that she was not fond of but again after explanation I feel it humanized the characters more and proved a big point in the movie for all the characters including Hercule. So it seems to be a classic issue of enjoying source material more which is very common and I would not let this hold you back from seeing the movie.
THE SKIN AND BONES
Good mystery story that is possible to figure out but has enough well placed misdirection to throw you off and have you second guessing your theory. The movie does nothing special or mind blowing but keeps things very pleasantly simple and enjoyable. The movie is a fun mystery with a great cast, solid acting, and story that will keep you guessing. Worth seeing in theatres if you get the chance but not mandatory. Best way to describe the movie is Fun.