Murder on the Orient Express
Murder on the Orient Express: This train gets derailed owing to weak execution of plot
Movie Review by Anand Jha (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
If there was ever a detective mystery movie made just for its picturesque virtues and not for the mind-boggling twists, it’s this. The Murder on the Orient Express is an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s eponymous novel. The movie is a remake of the 1974 movie by the same name created by Sidney Lumet, which had taken home an Oscar. This one isn’t even getting near one.
While the story and the final outcome might be known to many fans, the manner in which it pans out on the screen is hardly engaging. In the opening scene when you see Hercule Poirot, a Belgian detective (played by Kenneth Charles Branagh, also the director of the film) in Jerusalem, examining his boiled eggs and deciding whether they are fit to be consumed, it is amply clear that the Belgian detective is going to be the star of this show. The movie is centered around the deductive skills of Hercule Poirot. He is suave and stylish but lacks the effortlessness and intelligence that the protagonist is associated with.
But the film does successfully recreate the 30s visuals and definitely strokes in nostalgia. The scenes are beautiful and at times, even awe-inspiring.
The first half is successfully squandered by portraying Hercule Poirot as a know-it-all detective. Kenneth Branagh fails miserably trying hard to get inside Poirot’s boots. He doesn’t carry the aura or the charm possessed by Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes. The comparison is only fair as Agatha Christie was inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The first half also takes a little too much time in character establishment and the lead’s introduction with each one of them.
Johnny Depp gets to play Samuel Ratchet, the person who is murdered on the train. He brings his characteristic charm to the role. But since he is the victim he goes off the screen as quickly as he makes an appearance. Like Lumet, who furnished the frames with a legendary cast (Ingrid Bergman, Albert Finney, Sean Connery, Lauren Bacall) Branagh spearheads a list of great actors such as Johnny Depp, Judi Dench and Penelope Cruz. But in the latter, most of the characters lack depth and hardly get their due screen time. As each character is interrogated for the murder, the pace of the film impacts the buoyant mood of the film.
By the time Poirot finishes interrogating the third suspect, you feel drained out and can even predict the plot, even if you have not read the classic. The visuals are stunning, the characters stand out but the film lacks the grip that a thriller must have and the Poirot fails to charm.