This is a spoiler free review, as the best part of a murder mystery is the whodunnit.
While everyone was out watching Thor or waiting for Justice League, I went and saw the latest representation of the Queen of Crimes best-selling novel, Murder on the Orient Express. As someone who knows the story pretty well and resides with one of Christie’s biggest fans, I went in skeptical and critical. However, all was not as I assumed.
As I said, I went in already knowing the resolution, so for me, the representation of the story and characters are where my review heavily lies. We could already tell from the trailers that it was a beautifully shot film, and that it was. Many wise and thoughtful cinematography choices, the scenes and costumes were gorgeous, and the music was excellent. Even the marketing is stunning. But how was the story? How were the characters?
This film has an all-star cast, from Daisy Ridley to Michelle Pfeifer to Leslie Odom Jr., and so many stars playing the wonderfully complex characters. Johnny Depp plays Mr. Ratchett, or better known the victim. Kenneth Branagh played the genius detective Hercule Poirot, as well as directed and produced the film. It was definitely a labor of love, and it was well-done. The ladies in the film are phenomenal, with amazing performances. And for the men, as my brother (the Christie expert) put it “You don’t like them because they aren’t supposed to be liked” which is a testament to their acting as well. I found myself forgetting who the actors were because they embodied the characters so well.
And the story? The accuracy is top-notch to the original novel. And even though I already knew the ending, I was still left stunned and surprised and even choked up at the reveal. There were still surprises on a classic story, without diluting and manipulating the story. Branagh certainly has a lot of respect for Christie’s work, and it shows.
But where is the fatal flaw? Most critiques have been mixed reviews of the film. And I always feel you should go see any film that you want to see and make your own opinion. So if you are a fan of Christie, enjoy a good mystery, or just want to see a new movie, I definitely recommend Murder on the Orient Express. Who knows, this could become your gateway into the world of Poirot and Agatha Christie. That said, it is not everyone’s cup of tea, an opinion is always subjective, but you will never know unless you give it a chance.
My resident Christie expert (also known as my brother, who is a murder mystery writer himself) also recommends this film and finds it a good representation of the original work with a lot of respect. He also, like me, got choked up at the end. And at the end, we both wish we could have watched it without knowing the ending to dive even deeper into the story.
Have you seen Murder on the Orient Express? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.