Kenneth Branagh has taken the reigns on this latest adaption of Agatha Christie’s famous book, first published in 1934. The Irish actor directing and starring as Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective with a knack for solving the unsolvable crime.
His ability is really put to the test after a murder has occurred on the Orient Express as the train has been stranded in the snow capped mountains after an avalanche has halted it’s progress. A rescue team is on its way and the Detective has been recruited to solve the crime by his friend Bouc (Tom Bateman), who is the train company’s representative.
What’s worse there is a carriage car full of suspects, all willing to lie for their own reasons and not reveal dark secrets, which may or not may be involved in the case.
There’s been plenty of adapations of this book on the small screen and in film; the 1974 version had Albert Finney as Poirot. This movie plays it straight keeping it very close to the book. Branagh plays Poirot as an interesting character, like the quirky guy you’d like to sit next to at a dinner party but as a director he’s gone for the gloss over substance.
He could have really made this dark and foreboding, a cracking ‘whodunit’, but I never felt a sense of dread for the other characters on the train, knowing a murderer is still amongst them. Maybe it was the cinematography, at times it felt like a ‘1930’s period piece’, an over glossed ‘this is what life was like back then’ on the History Channel.
Alternatively, it could be that I’ve watched too many episodes of Peaky Blinders or Taboo and enjoyed the ‘darkness’ of it and that early century grittiness, but that’s part of the problem these days, TV is outshining Hollywood, better storylines and better everything.
Which in a way is a shame, because ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ is a great story and with a crop of actors including Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench and Michelle Pfieffer, I felt it was a wasted opportunity.
hallymustang rating : 2/5 ??