Murder on the Orient Express (2017) | star review

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Murder on the Orient Express sees “perhaps the world’s greatest detective” Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) guest on the titular legendary locomotive where he is offered for his services by a sleazy businessman (Johnny Depp) who fears that his life is threatened by one of his traveling companions. While he’s absolutely right, finding out who the culprit is will truly be a herculean task of deduction…

As a Brit, I went into this film with doubts that it even needed to exist. For my international readers who may not be aware, Poirot has been largely and thoroughly adapted for British television (with the title role played by veteran actor Sir David Suchet) over 24 years and 70 episodes (including many feature films). This particular personification of the iconic detective has received universal acclaim both on this small island and abroad. So, could a big-budget movie outing really fill those shoes? It turns out that the answer to this question is mostly a “yes!” emphatically.

With my admitted cynicism, the biggest pleasant surprise for me was how easily Branagh portrayed Poirot. I’m not about to argue about best portrayal (it’s far too subjective and nuanced discussion), but the fact that his characterization never felt out of place from the moment he first appeared time on screen is a huge accomplishment. Especially when you know that he also directs the film. In fact, I’d say this take on the character has some improvement over his TV counterpart, including being much deeper to the man beyond his detective. We are presented with a three-dimensional individual rather than a pompous caricature.

Truth be told, the most interesting thing about Murder on the Orient Express chosen as the introductory story is that while its reputation undoubtedly makes it one of Agatha Christie’s greatest stories, it is far from be easy to adapt to a visual medium. At least convincingly. The obvious reason for this is of course the fact that the vast majority of the story is confined to a cramped train with similar interiors. Fortunately, the visual concerns are greatly mitigated by the large budget and the sumptuous sets. It really does look like the luxury train it claims to be. Of course, this story lives and dies (pardon the pun) on its characters.

Luckily, this cast is incredibly star-studded, including several Oscar winners. Along with the aforementioned Branagh and Depp as detective and victim respectively, we’re also treated to standout performances from Penelope Cruz, Willem Defoe, Dame Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley and more. It’s worth noting that these aren’t glorified cameos either. Each is given a backstory with their own character nuances and duplicities that intertwine to ensnare the viewer in a riveting thriller that positively drips with intrigue as the plot slowly unfolds.

And in fact, if I had to criticize anything about the movie, it might be for its lack of urgency to get to the heart of the matter. Don’t get me wrong, the acting is stellar, and the film benefits overall from building up its potential suspects. However, there’s no denying that a substantial portion of the runtime is taken up by the pre-kill setup. It’s not exactly terrible, but it’s not helped by the fact that much of what we think we learn about these people at the start is reversed later. So overall it makes the early stages somewhat lethargic and bloated in hindsight.

However, if there’s one area of ​​the film that I can wholeheartedly praise, it’s the soundtrack. It ranges from peppy little riffs to more moody bits that accompany both the mystery of the construction and the occasional gorgeous, sweeping vistas we’re treated to outside the vehicle, whether it’s accelerating or at a standstill. Whatever it accompanies on screen, the orchestral arrangements are a real highlight and a soundtrack I could happily listen to (indeed, I’m doing just that as I write this review).

In conclusion, Murder on the Orient Express is a film that ended much better than it perhaps had a right to and while I may have some minor issues with its initial pacing, the ensemble of a gloriously realized setting, some of the best actors delivering brilliant performances and a brooding but engrossing soundtrack add up to a highly recommended watch.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


Disney+ presentation:

Murder on the Orient Express is available in 4K UHD, with the full suite of HDR and Dolby Atmos features on compatible devices. Therefore, if you have the right home theater setup, this is one of the best ways to watch the movie aside from buying a physical disc.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the movie page does not include the standard “Extras” tab. So even the “promo clip” or basic trailer is not offered.

Presentation Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

You’ll find “Murder on the Orient Express” available to stream now on Disney+ in many countries, including the UK and Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the Netherlands and more. Again.

What did you think of “Murder on the Orient Express”?


Jon Potier

Jon has been a lifelong Disney fan. From wearing down those expensive VHS tapes and visiting Disneyland Paris as a child to becoming a huge MCU fan as an adult, Disney has helped shape some of the happiest and most fun times it has ever had. remember.


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