Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Examining the evidence Poirot-style I have reached the conclusion that my main issue with this film comes from the rather contrived plot.

I’m generally a fan of Agatha Christie and at some point have read most of the Poirot books (admittedly a long time ago) – and this story is the one with which I have always struggled. I even recall seeing the Lumet film version of this story at the cinema when it first came out. My mum took me and at the end I had to ask her to explain who had actually committed the crime as I couldn’t get my head around what I’d seen. Far from being extremely clever, this is for me one Christie story that is just too far-fetched and convoluted. Which is saying something.

Admittedly the cast is a dream. I’m a life-long Branagh fan, and throw in national treasure Judi Dench and Dame-in-Waiting Olivia Colman – well, it’s bound to be engaging.

But the downside to having such a numerous cast is that there are simply so many characters that no-one gets enough screen time. Olivia Colman gets about three lines, and it’s difficult to keep up with who’s who as there’s insufficient opportunity to fill in some background on each of them.

I couldn’t understand much of what Johnny Depp was saying – and why are people still casting him in things anyway? He could have been reshot with Colin Farrell, for example.

Other strange casting surrounds two of the younger women, who look about the same age, yet one of the characters must be significantly older than the other given their respective roles.

And I’m not quite sure which was more ridiculous – Poirot as an action hero, or his double confection of a moustache.

I mean, I was entertained while watching it, loved the period design, and the overhead shots of the train’s interior are gorgeous. But then at the denouement, I remembered how silly it is.

One thought on “Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

  1. I don’t think this is a silly one. No coincidences are required, thematic unity reigns, the core idea is so cool, and Christie realized the task magnificently. Now “Death on the Nile” is indeed absurd, where the boat is full of independently dodgy people, a surfeit of red herrings. However, there was no reason to redo this again as a movie – the TV one was totally adequate. Why not a totally new whodunnit, rather than a boring old Christie retread?

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