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Review: “Murder on the Orient Express” derails the traditional murder mystery

Credit: 20th Century Fox

The train is waiting to depart; you have to decide if you will jump on and take the journey of the orient express, where murder awaits. It’s going to be an interesting ride.

“Murder on the Orient Express”, an adaption of Agatha Christie’s novel, takes you on a mysterious train ride that will change multiple lives. Hercule Poirot is a renowned detective known for his ability to solve any mystery, but he decides to take a break and boards a train to relax. However, he’s not relaxing for long because one night a man is murdered on board and it is now his job to weed out the culprit, who is taking residence in the first class part of the train. Thankfully, the train is put into a standstill due to it being derailed by an avalanche, so Poirot has enough time to solve this case.

The film, though interestingly filmed and well casted, was lacking in keeping the audience interested. It was filled with speaking and one-on-one interviews so it was hard at points to pay attention to everything. There was very little action and when there was, the scenes were quick and seemingly rushed.

It was, however, well filmed. The director, Kenneth Branagh, saw the spacing of the train and the tightness of it and decided to adapt to interesting camera angles. When the actors were supposed to be in tight corridors of a room, the camera would be an arial shot and looking down on the heads of the actors. These different angles created an interesting relationship with the mystery, because when the angle changed the setting seemed more mysterious.

“Murder on the Orient Express” also picked out an all star-cast. This included Branagh, known for a variety of movies such as “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” as the genius detective, Poirot; Johnny Depp, known for “Pirates of the Caribbean,” played the mysterious gangster called Ratchett; Daisy Ridley, known for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” as Mary Debenham; and Michelle Pfeiffer, known for “Scarface” and many other films, portrayed Hubbard.

However, it doesn’t stop there. Judi Dench portrayed the elegant Princess Dragomiroff and embodied true royalty while doing so. Penelope Cruz was also cast, playing the somewhat depressed Pilar Estravados, and also Josh Gad, known for “Frozen,” played Ratchett’s assistant, McQueen. And who could forget Leslie Odom Jr., known for Aaron Burr in the play “Hamilton,” who portrayed Colonel Arbuthnot.

Even though the film had all these magnificent actors, the director, Branagh, didn’t use them to their full potential. He instead showcased his part more than anyone else’s and upstaged everyone. It could have been because he wanted to rely more on the detective part of the film, but in doing so he struggled with the character development of everyone else. The others were not well developed and left viewers asking, in the end, who everyone was and what their part was in the whole mystery.

In reality, the movie was not the classic who dunnit that allowed the viewers to pick who the mysterious figures were and what evidence linked them to the crime. Instead, the film was all about Poirot miraculously linking pieces of the puzzle together then blurting them out for the audience to hear. The movie did not allow the audience to even get the chance to fully comprehend all the pieces of the mystery because there was lack of development on all fronts.

The audience has definitely shown up to take a ride on the orient express since the movie has brought in $10.7 million on it’s opening day. However, after the trip the viewers were not so happy with their experience. The movie has obtained a 58 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.8 out of 10 in IMDB.

This film is one that you can miss and disregard. If you want to see a movie that uses many famous actors however, then this could be your cup of tea. Just remember, if you can’t sit through a plethora of talking and little action than this is not a movie that you will love. It’s pretty forgettable and not the most exciting film, even though it really tries.


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Emma Yakel
Emma Yakel, Reporter

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Comments on articles are screened and those determined by editors to be crude, overly mean-spirited or that serve primarily as personal attacks will not be approved. The Editorial Review Board, made up of 11 student editors and a faculty adviser, make decisions on content.
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Review: “Murder on the Orient Express” derails the traditional murder mystery