During World War II, When the Japanese were fighting in the Philippines, they buried a stash of gold. They decided to abandon the traditional "treasure map", deciding instead to engrave ... See full summary »
Agatha Christie's classic whodunit speeds into the twenty-first century. World-famous sleuth Hercule Poirot has just finished a case in Istanbul and is returning home to London onboard the luxurious Orient Express. But, the train comes to a sudden halt when a rock slide blocks the tracks ahead. And all the thrills of riding the famous train come to a halt when a man discovered dead in his compartment, stabbed nine times. The train is stranded. No one has gotten on or gotten off. That can only mean one thing: the killer is onboard, and it is up to Hercule Poirot to find him.Written by
In the next exterior shot after departure from Istanbul, a differently colored diesel locomotive is on the train. During the night scenes before the journey is interrupted, a steam locomotive is shown. Then when the train stops at the rockfall, the same EWS diesel is back on it, but now it's facing the other way (the EWS letters and the locomotive number 47744 have swapped places as seen from the same side of the train). Finally, when the journey resumes the next night, the steam locomotive is back. See more »
The 1974 movie of this book was a mixed bag. Obligations to the all-star cast caused most of the problems, as the writers and editors jockeyed to give everyone an equitable amount of screen time, an actorly moment and some close-ups. This prevented it from being a very deep film, and Sidney Lumet is really only a workmanlike filmmaker. But still, despite those limitations, there is much pleasure in the earlier version; the wordless flashback prologue of a kidnapping is beautifully done. Rare for a murder mystery, the unfolding of the solution provides a startling, satisfying emotional payload.
For this retelling, a decision was made to update the material to the contemporary era. The topical references that acknowledge the world has changed since the thirties really achieve naught, except perhaps alleviating some writers fear that the material is passé... There's too many of these self-conscious references (to air travel, the internet, VCRs, taking the Express out of mothballs, Ross Perot) and they become annoying. Other changes are there simply because filmmakers thought it would make it more conventional (Hercule Poirot has a ridiculous romantic interest, "Vera"). The biggest bummer is the substitution of a utilitarian diesel engine for the original stylish steam locomotive. Thud.
Ultimately these revisions add nothing to the movie and seem to have taken the focus off producing a tight, compelling, methodical script.
The highlight of the previous movie was the cross-cutting between the temporal time-frame and the crime. This movie lifts that technique, but doesn't really come up with any contribution of it's own. The color palette, the research and the envisioning of the crime were all more vivid in the earlier version.
Alfred Molina is pretty bad in this. It just isn't interesting.
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