- November 6, 2017
The passenger manifest in "Murder on the Orient Express" reads like a "who's who" of A-list actors. And as the film's tagline points out, "Everyone is a suspect."
In this story of coincidences running amok, written by Agatha Christie in 1934, a "profoundly disturbing crime" takes place. It is committed on the famed locomotive en route from Istanbul to Calais. On board is a legendary sleuth (Kenneth Branagh) who announces to the passengers, "My name is Hercule Poirot and I am probably the greatest detective in the world." And he's determined to find the murderer of a dishonest businessman (Johnny Depp) who has been viciously stabbed numerous times while sleeping.
When the train is derailed by an avalanche, shortly after the body is discovered, Poirot begins interrogating each of the passengers and soon finds that there is a common thread amongst them. Seems they all had a connection to a horrific kidnapping which ended in the murder of a child (a la the infamous Lindbergh abduction). Poirot has always maintained, "there is right, there is wrong...nothing in between." But when he learns who perpetrated the crime, his fundamental belief is destroyed.
Branagh also directs and does so with an energetic passion akin to the character he portrays. His intense attention to detail is fascinating while the cinematography is jaw-dropping. The most breathtaking shots are those filmed in the mountains of Valle d'Aosta, Italy. Composer Patrick Doyle, who works frequently with Branagh ("Macbeth," "Hamlet"), has created a sweeping score worthy of enhancing the visuals.
Mr. Branagh's "Murder on the Orient Express" is a remarkable remake and worth a watch. It is also a great mystery that keeps you guessing at every turn. Even if your memory serves you well.
Also starring: Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom, Jr.,Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Marwan Kenzari, Olivia Colman, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Sergei Polunin, Lucy Boynton, Tom Bateman and a massive moustache.