This is a remake. Most times that would make most moviegoers flip their noses up and ignore this offering. Honestly, I didn’t expect too much from the film even with the tantalizing cast that was offered up. I thought “Oh great, Hollywood has ran out of ideas again !” That being said, I was pleasantly shocked to find a fantastically acted, directed, and shot film that pays homage and does it’s own thing at the same time.
If you aren’t in the know, Murder On The Orient Express, is an Agatha Christie murder mystery book that has been adapted six ways to Sunday for the big screen. It revolves around the master detective, Hercule Poirot, a man that has a massive case of OCD. He also extremely entertained and self aware of his own overt genius in his field. On tihe luxury train, The Orient Express is a wide ranging cast of characters that go from religious missionary to a princess. When a unfortunate accident where an avalanche derails the train one of the residents turns up a lot deader than he was a few hours earlier. Now, it’s up to the great Hercule Poirot to take down the nefarious killer who is one of the multiple illustrious guests.
The cast all get their time to shine especially during the multiple interrogation scenes. Daisy Ridley plays Mary Debenham a lovely young lady with secrets. This movie definitely shows that her talent will take her past being “That Star Wars Girl.” She handles scenes with Kenneth Branagh’s delightfully played Poirot handily.
Johnny Depp plays the Gangster Edward Ratchett and he’s as smarmy as needed. Josh Gad plays Ratchett’s drunkard right hand man. It’s the best acting I’ve seen from Gad to date. Willem Dafoe plays a racist professor that doesn’t quite want to associate with Dr. Arbuthnot (played by Leslie Odom Jr.) due to his race. Judi Dench is the stuffy Princess Dragomiroff. But, Michelle Pfeiffer has the most memorable character outside of Poirot. She plays Caroline Hubbard, a fast talking and flirtatious American that steals about every scene she is in. Poirot is the true star of this film though. Kenneth Branagh exudes quirkiness and over confidence in his abilities. His portrayal is as intriguing as the mystery itself and left me wanting more of him as Hercule Poirot.
I went in to this movie as a blank slate not knowing any of the details of the story prior to seeing it (except that it took place on a train). I was looking to see another half thought remake and received an artful retelling of a classic story. Rife with fantastic performances, pacing that keeps the story moving at the right pace, and cinematography that stood out to a man that rarely looks for that in films. This movie is undeniably worth your money, time, and 4 1/2 Stars.