Murder on the Orient Express Mustache You to Consider It

I was in middle school the first time I picked up an Agatha Christie novel. That being said, I don’t actually remember if I’ve read Murder on the Orient Express, the plot seemed familiar, but there is no way I’d ever be able to do a book to film comparison without picking up the novel today. However, I can tell you about the film as a stand alone piece of entertainment.

Murder on the Orient Express pretty much summarizes the plot in the title. A group of passengers boards the opulent train, the Orient Express. While en route to their destination, one of the passengers is murdered. The meat of the film is the murder investigation lead by famous detective Hercule Poirot and his equally famous mustache.

There are a lot of things that this film does right, but there is also one big mark the film misses: pacing. I feel as if I talk a lot about pacing in my film reviews, but truthfully it can make or break a film. I don’t quite think the occasionally sluggish pacing breaks Murder on the Orient Express, but it does make the viewer feel a bit restless at times. It feels exactly how one would imagine a 1930s British murder mystery should feel, but for a 2017 audience this also feels a bit dated.

However, I did mention that the film gets a lot right and that is in large part thanks to Kenneth Branagh. The man knows how to stage a show and is also a stellar actor. It is apparent from minute one that you are watching a Kenneth Branagh film and the production is absolutely beautiful. He manages to make a film set within an easily claustrophobic set of train cars feel open and grandiose. Even more impressive is that despite the very high-budget, polished production value, the main goal is still letting the talent-heavy cast shine.

Branagh as Poirot is unsurprisingly outstanding, and the rest of the cast is equally unsurprisingly outstanding. It’s a true ensemble film but this ensemble is stacked with stars. Pfeiffer, Dench, Depp, Odom, Dafoe, Ridley, Cruz. The majority of the cast has proven they can carry a whole film, but here they work together to bring life to these rather complex characters. It’s truly amazing to watch. So, sure the film has pacing problems, but overall I think it has more to offer than it doesn’t.

Recommendation:

If you are a fan of Agatha Christie, procedural dramas, or mustaches, I recommend you go see Murder on the Orient Express. If you’re on the fence perhaps wait. Either way, keep in mind that the technical production is worth seeing on a big screen.

 

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