Murder On The Orient Express DVD Reviewed By Jarred Tito

The Premise
A lavish train ride unfolds into a stylish & suspenseful mystery. From the novel by Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express tells of thirteen stranded strangers & one man's race to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again.

The Review
A classic reboot of a classic film from a classic author, Agatha Christie. This ‘whodunnit’ murder mystery is sure to have film goers guessing and die-hard Christie fans scratching their heads. Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ is the type of film that tends to only make a visit to our theatres once in a while so when it does happen we would all like to hope that the film makers get it right. I think Branagh has. From the cast and art department to the cinematography and directing, this work of art has everything that any novice and film buff alike could hope for.

Kenneth Branagh had very big shoes to fill when taking on the role of the famed story detective Poirot. The TV series that featured David Suchet as the very popular fictional character, raised the bar to a very high level as you would expect after Suchet played Poirot for over 23 years. I did have my concerns after seeing the trailer but they were soon quashed during of the opening seconds of the first scene which featured Branagh at the brink of a matter involving a restaurateur, a servant boy, two hard boiled eggs and Poirot inspecting the eggs. Poirot forever the obsessive compulsive. The fact that he also had a large role in producing and also directing the film is almost beyond me. A very clever man.

The actors are brilliantly cast to say the very least, each providing more than satisfactory performances. None more pleasing than Johnny Depp. He, in my opinion, played one of his better performances than he has for many years. It was great to see him in a serious role. He played his part perfectly. Penelope Cruz also made an appearance as a bedazzled nanny. She, like all of the actors in his film, shared the leading parts equally. Nice to see the return of quite a few of yesteryear’s A-listers, each playing leading roles while at the same time playing supporting roles, not to the ‘stars’ but to the story and work of Agatha Christie. Michelle Pfeiffer was another actor that I have not seen for some time in a major Hollywood role. She was again, perfectly cast. There are many other familiar faces throughout the film, which to the credit of the screen writers and the director, each play significant roles. There are no ‘third wheels’.

There are plenty of moments when you cannot turn away from the screen for fear of missing a critical part of the puzzle, as you would expect from a mystery such as this. Poirot’s constant evaluations and assessments of the crimes are minute by minute as we follow him in his investigations. His interviews with suspects are always entertaining, and Branagh’s attention to detail, as the director, is spot on.

The Verdict
‘Murder on the Orient Express’ is one of Agatha Christie’s more recognizable ‘mystery murders’ to ever have graced the screen. Kenneth Branagh has helped to continue this brilliant legacy with this classic remake. It is a very enjoyable tale, that in every respect, should be recognized as a major theatrical achievement. I would strongly recommend a viewing. You will not be disappointed.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 9th November 2017
Rating: M – Contains adult themes
Duration: 114 minutes 
Genre:  Thriller
Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe & Kenneth Branagh
Director: Kenneth Branagh (Thor)

The Extras
This is Kenneth Branagh's second movie to be shot on 65mm film. The first was Hamlet (1996). After 21 years, Branagh decided to use this film format once again because, according to his own words, he felt inspired by some independent movies he had been watching. Mostly, films by Michael Haneke. With the announcement in the second theatrical trailer that the film will receive a limited 70mm engagement, Murder on the Orient Express (2017) is now the fourth film in the 2010's to be shot on 65mm and projected in 70mm, following The Master (2012), The Hateful Eight (2015) and Dunkirk (2017) (in which Branagh appears in a supporting role).

When the trailer for the film was first released, many Agatha Christie fans complained about Kenneth Branagh's interpretation of Poirot's iconic moustache being insulting to the source material. Coincidentally, when the novel Murder on the Orient Express was first adapted for the screen in 1974, Christie (who was still alive at the time) was rather displeased with how the moustache on Albert Finney's Poirot turned out.

The original Orient Express route (from October 4, 1883) was from Paris to Giurgiu (Romania).

Michelle Pfeiffer sings " Never Forget " over the closing credits of " Murder on the Orient Express ". The song was co- written by composer Patrick Doyle and director /star Kenneth Branagh.

In between filming, Josh Gad "interrogated" an annoyed Daisy Ridley several times in an attempt to get her to answer his questions about Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017), filming the reactions with his smartphone. Several actors and cast members took part in it, including Judi Dench, Penélope Cruz, Chris Pratt and The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams. These hilarious videos can be found on Gad's Facebook and Instagram.

In real life there was one actual murder on The Orient Express. Maria Farcasanu was robbed and murdered by Karl Strasser, who pushed her out of the moving train, one year after Agatha Christie's book was published. Also, in 1950, Simon Karpe disappeared from the train under suspicious circumstances involving espionage; some elements inspired Ian Fleming's From Russia with Love.

Angelina Jolie was originally attached to the project in the role of Mrs. Hubbard, but dropped out. Charlize Theron was also courted for the role, but in the end, Michelle Pfeiffer was cast.

Stacey Snider, CEO of 20th Century Fox, broke off negotiations with Angelina Jolie after several months due to her insistence on significant script changes on what was a relatively small part.

After Albert Finney (in 1974), Peter Ustinov (1978), Alfred Molina (in 2001), David Suchet (in 2010) and Mansai Nomura (in 2015), Kenneth Branagh is the sixth actor to embody famous Agatha Christie's detective Hercule Poirot.