Murder on the Orient Express is one of the most recognised of Agatha Christie's novels. Having already been adapted a few times, how does Kenneth Brannagh's 2017 version stack up?
Before we delve into that, let's find out what it's all about.
What Is Murder on the Orient Express About?
Well, the clue is in the name. Based on the 1934 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie, the film boasts an all-star cast, with Branagh portraying Hercule Poirot.
The plot follows Poirot, a world-renowned detective, as he investigates a murder on the luxury Orient Express train in the 1930s.
We meet Poirot just after he has solved another case in Jeruselum, but now he must return to London for another case. His friend Bouc, director of an Orient Express service, arranges a bunk for him aboard the train.
The mystery begins when an American businessman, Edward Ratchett, wants to hire Poirot as his bodyguard during the journey. Poirot refuses but hears strange noises coming from Ratchett's compartment later that night.
An avalanche then derails the train's engine, stranding the passengers, and that's when Rachett is found murdered, having been stabbed a dozen times.
Stuck in the middle of nowhere, Detective Hercule Poirot must now uncover which of the thirteen strangers stranded on board the lavish train ride is the killer.
Poirot discovers a partially burned note connecting Ratchett to the kidnapping of Daisy Armstrong, a child who was abducted from her bedroom and held for ransom. Though the ransom was paid, Daisy was murdered nonetheless.
So who on the train is connected to Daisy and the Armstrong family? And did they kill Rachett?
Murder on the Orient Express Official Trailer
Is Murder on the Orient Express Worth Watching?
There is no doubt that this is a stylish production and one of the most famous thrilling mysteries ever written.
Throw in an incredible cast and astoundingly sharp source material, and it would be very difficult to mess it up.
I will say a few things, though. Firstly, the book is more nuanced, which is to be expected, and the writers of the film have downplayed a lot of the idiosyncracies that went into creating the characters.
Secondly, this is a much better production than Death on the Nile, which came after it. There's less use of CGI and green screen, and cinematically the scope and setting seem much larger, despite being made entirely in the UK.
I always find it tricky to see anyone other than David Suchet play Poirot, but Kenneth Branagh brings his own perspective, which is refreshing. Plus of course, he also had to contend with Albert Finney's Poirot from 1974, though this is a much better version.
Overall, Agatha Christie is still one of the greatest murder mystery writers of all time, and adaptations of her work will always be popular, including this one.
So yes, Murder on the Orient Express (2017) is worth watching, and as a mystery that is nearly 90 years old, it still stands the test of time.
Murder on the Orient Express Movie Cast
Nothing short of an all-star ensemble cast star in this movie. Finding as many Hollywood A-Listers in any other production would nearly be impossible.
Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot, a world-renowned Belgian detective and former police officer.
Tom Bateman as Bouc, Poirot's friend, and nephew of the owner of the Orient Express.
Johnny Depp as Edward Ratchett, the murder victim
Josh Gad as Hector MacQueen, Ratchett's secretary
Derek Jacobi as Edward Henry Masterman, Ratchett's valet and butler
Penelope Cruz as Pilar Estravados, a Spanish missionary
Willem Dafoe as Cyrus Bethman Hardman, an Austrian university professor
Dame Judi Dench as Princess Natalia Dragomiroff
Olivia Colman as Hildegarde Schmidt, Natalia's maid
Michelle Pfeiffer as an American widow, Caroline Hubbard
Daisy Ridley as Mary Debenham, a governess.
Leslie Odom Jr. as Dr Arbuthnot, Mary's secret lover, who is also a former army sniper and Col. Armstrong's close friend.
Marwan Kenzari as Pierre Michel, the conductor
Lucy Boynton as Countess Helena Andrenyi
Sergei Polunin as Count Rudolph Andrenyi, Helena's husband
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Biniamino Marquez, a car salesman
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