A Review of "Murder on the Orient Express" by Nathan H. Box
Director: Kenneth Branagh, Writers: Michael Green, Agatha Christie, Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe
Rating: 2 Stars, SKIP
When a murder occurs on the train he's traveling on, celebrated detective Hercule Poirot is recruited to solve the case.
What “Murder on the Orient Express” must accomplish in two hours to be considered a decent movie is a lot of heavy lifting. It must introduce us to a world-renowned detective and make a case for his right to solve the murder aboard the train. It then must introduce us to a whole cast of characters, all of whom are potential murders. After the introduction, it must develop these character in such a way that the audience is suspicious of all of them. Within each person, we must recognize a motive. Finally, it must solve the mystery in a satisfying manner. With a cast of characters this large, none of this easy. This film succumbs to its own weight and falls to confusion because of the daunting task it creates for itself from the very beginning.
Our main and most compelling character is Hercule Poirot. He has a nose for perfection and unique idiosyncrasies making him an uncommon man but a near perfect detective. As he boards, the Orient Express, an immediate seed of conflict is planted between the characters onboard. This is a wonderful tool that has you guessing from the beginning about who will be murdered and who did it.
Not long after departing the station, murder! With so many potential suspects, this case becomes a test of strength for our hero. It also becomes a test of strength for the audience. I dare anyone to watch this movie and not become engrossed in the confusion. You’ll find yourself tripping over details, passenger characteristics, and motives. At some point for me, it all became too much. I checked out and stopped caring. In the end, all I wanted was the reveal and to get one with my life.
Then the reveal came, and I found it underwhelming. Of course, I won’t give anything away here for those who still want to see the movie. I will say this though, temper your expectations for something big and grandiose. For this reason and the cloud of confusion hanging over this movie, I recommend you skip it.
Be good to each other,