Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
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I, on the other hand, was massively disappointed, especially by Branagh as a sort of English upper-class colonel with a stick-on cavalry moustache and by the needless addition of an introductory scene at the Wailing Wall. But I am prejudiced. I read the 1934 novel decades ago and again more recently. I liked the 1974 star-studded version with Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Widmark, and Michael York—despite the fact that Albert Finney was a very poor version of Christie's Hercule Poirot.
In my opinion, the 2010 television version of the story starred David Suchet as the definitive Poirot, and the ending was far and away the best of all the versions with which I am familiar. So I think Christie fans may want to skip this edition of the classic.
I'm being careful to avoid spoilers here! The film starts with a relatively entertaining light-hearted action sequence which brings Poirot to the forefront of the story-line. But, it quickly goes downhill from here. We are then introduced to the rest of the cast and we quickly learn they all have their own stories.
After this though, the film becomes incredibly dull and slow. This remake is completely unnecessary and tedious
I have only given it 5 stars because I have significant respect for Agatha Christie's Poirot and it is only the base story-line which rescues it. Boring acting and predictable plot-twists.
Most definitely mediocre.
The previous two versions the film in 1974 with Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot and the 2010 television version with David Suchet are both superb.
If you haven't seen either you probably may enjoy this as I don't criticise the acting or production . It's an interesting cast I enjoyed Michelle Pfeiffer in the role of Caroline Hubbard so classily played in the original by Lauren Bacall and Branagh gives a credible performance as Poirot.
What I missed was the elegance of the original the original score by Richard Rodney Bennett is one of my all time favourite film scores ,used so evocatively in the original film it gave the Orient Express an identity motif forever etched in film history.
The music score in this attempt is bland and the song at the end credits so saccharine sweet and forgettable I've forgotten it already.
If you make a remake film that's so well known you can't help comparing the original cast and in 1974 we had Albert Finney, Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall , Dame Wendy Huller , Richard Widmark, Sean Connery, John Gielgud , Rachel Roberts and Vanessa Redgrave to name a few , yet not one of the new cast including Dame Judy Dench eclipses any of the performances of the original film . The costumes and sets are very good in this version but again in 1974 even without blue screens and cgi effects the elegance and luxury of the original is not improved with this version. So to me the good performances and production of this movie were wasted on this expensive film and the tweaking of the story line was totally unnecessary and in one instance concerning the Caroline Hubbard role ridiculous.
Without giving anything away or spoiling it for audiences who haven't seen the original, apart from recommending the 1974 version to this one I was horrified at the hint at the end of the movie that Kenneth Branagh may remake "Death on the Nile"I sincerely hope not. What next will we a have Kenneth Branagh remake of Gone With The Wind starting himself as Rhett Butler and Anne Hathaway as Scarlett?
Kenneth Branagh is a great director and actor that has given us some memorable films, unfortunately "Murder On the Orient Express" isn't one of them.
At last night's screening of "Murder On the Orient Express" I had to use the restroom after about 40 minutes. As I reentered the theater the person entering with me asked me "Do you think this movie will ever get started?" I said "I don't know; I guess we'll have to see." It caught fire way to late, in about the last 20 minutes.
Indeed, the movie had a painfully slow start, with a completely overproduced prologue that seemed quite unnecessary. The introduction of the characters is messy and it becomes rather confusing as to who they are. The cast is full of great actors, but so few are able to "shine" in this production.
Kenneth Branagh is an interesting Hercule Poirot, he seems to be trying way too hard, and for me somehow he never "owned it." The extremely grotesque mustache seemed to get in the way
Michelle Pfeiffer, as Mrs. Hubbard is lackluster and quite flat, until the last 20 minutes where she does get a chance to shine, but by then it's too late, but it's not her fault.
Derek Jacobi, one of our greatest actors is so misdirected in this version that he delivers an insipid performance. Penelope Cruz walks through a part that gained Ingrid Bergman an Oscar in the original, again not their fault.
Interestingly enough, it is Johnny Depp who gives the best performance. He embodies his character with the right amount of vile corruptness, and sleaziness that brings life to the screen. He also has the most interesting costumes in the movie.
Judi Dench is elegant and funny but her companion played by Olivia Coleman, who usually turns in stellar performances is totally uninteresting here, again not her fault.
The production is indeed rich and elegant in its production design, and cinematography. The costumes however are fine, but lack a certain panache and glamour we have grown to admire in past Agatha Christie films, such as those designed by Tony Walton, and Anthony Powell. Alexandra Byrne is an extraordinary designer, but somehow it feels like the concept was to be subtle and "real". She needed to be bold and adventurous like her work on the "Elizabeth" films with Cate Blanchette.
The musical score vacillates from very generic, to frantic and never finds the right tone, never providing a sense of mystery and suspense. Only when true vintage songs are incorporated does the atmosphere come alive.
Kenneth Branagh is such a gifted filmmaker, it is sad to see this film fall short. He is in almost every frame, perhaps he would have crafted a better film if he was not in it. As the conductor of this train, he did not provide an elegant journey with wit and great character development for one of Agatha Christie's finest stories.
In this movie...Hercule Poirot does not get attacked by *any* of the suspects, still less shot by one of them who also confesses to the murder.
Apparently Brannagh thought modern day audiences couldn't sit through a murder mystery without 3 fist fights - and a shooting.
Then of course there's the political correctness. It's set in the right time period, the 1930s, but the doctor who has nothing to do with the crime has been morphed with Arbuthnot, one of the killers - and is now black.
I suppose that's okay, if it's true that one black man per medical class is allowed in, in 1930s England...but it's just dumb - and the fact that he actually shoots Poirot - when no matter who he may be, there's no evidence against him or the white woman he's in love with - is just stupid.
Then there's the most egregious bit - the opening where an Iman, a Rabbi and a Priest are accused of stealing a valuable relic at the Wailing Wall where thousands of people of different ethnicities are waiting. And of course it isn't one of these three religious people - no, it's the head of the British police who steals it in order to foment discontent and cement British rule, apparently. Stupid stupid stupid.
Then there's the fact that Poirot has been turned into Mr. Monk. He steps into a pile of dung with one foot. Poirot is a neat freak, and a clean freak, not a 'balance' freak. There is no way in hell he'd step into the dung with his *other* foot, to balance everything out. Just stupid.
The actors do excellent jobs with what they're given. Unfortunately what they're given is awful. I give 5 stars for the performances, and that's it.
Cut to the train - at last. We hear that the train is full and that Poirot will have to share a cabin for at least one night. As we discover that there are just 12 passengers on the whole train I wondered what happened to all the other empty berths on the other carriages. Let's just pass over that one. We are now introduced to the various characters. I don't know how much these stars got paid for this movie but boy, apart from Michelle Pfeiffer, they don't have too many words to say. The main action is sitting around looking suspiciously at each other. Depp is mostly unintelligible evidenced by his recent performance on the Graham Norton show where he found it difficult to string two words together. It is only Branagh who has the dialogue - and he works it as hard as he can into some kind of Shakespearean dialogue. Judi Dench plays the part Wendy Hiller took in the 1974 film. I know Dench is supposed to be the public's "favourite" but Hiller's sneering haughtiness will remain one of the highlights of the earlier film long after this one is forgotten.
In the novel and the 1974 film the train gets stuck in a drift. Here it is struck by an avalanche and teeters on a wooden viaduct. Ain't CGI wonderful? The engine is derailed but never fear he comes a gang of ten workers who will dig away the snow and pull a 100 ton engine back on to the tracks - with their bare hands. Marvellous.
And the music score? Possibly the most disappointing part of the whole film when one considers the classic Richard Rodney Bennett score for the 1974 film. Patrick Doyle's offering is just insipid and uninspired. The closing credits roll with some vapid pop song burbling away in the background.
Well, if you've never seen the 1974 film and you don't know the ending you may enjoy this but perhaps you should locate that earlier film and wait for this to end up on the £3 shelf at Tesco. It would appear, to judge by the final quip by Poirot in the film that Branagh is planning to redo Death on the Nile. God help us.
The 74 original showed the opening part of the mystery story, which foretold all, but here that investment comes way in the middle of the things, where it has no place, and after so much disinterest has already occurred. Branagh hams it up, takes all the scenes, gives no space for anyone else to breathe, let along give any type of performance, then appears to be almost clairvoyant, as he seems to figure everything out through thin air. Basically because he never has any legitimate conversation with any of the major characters to determine what happened and why. Oh yes, he's the mystic seer. Maybe stolen from a 1960 Twilight Zone episode. No, more he is ego-centric and arrogant Branagh who can't stand being out of the limelight. You're in the limelight now, Kenny....you screwed up a major production and were all laughing at you, not with you. Arrogance reigns
The use of totally unnecessary CGI is annoying and silly, the action scenes are dull, tedious, pointless, adding nothing to the plot. The plot, for what it is is convoluted. Never really explained. In the original we were given clues, had ideas, questions, we could follow along. Not here. It's as if they made this thinking EVERYONE knows all the answers, and so they skip numerous (and I mean numerous) plot points..but again, the mystic seer, with the most stupid looking and idiotic mustache in history, knows all. Watching this flick, you'll wish Poirot got knifed, instead of Mr Ratchett.
Plot devices that all fail, where do I start, the opening wasted scene, Poirot measuring the size of his hard boiled eggs.(oh, please) A avalanche comes down and stops the train, but oh yes, only derailed the front engine, not the rest of the train, which it certainly would have done. People firing guns at each other, but why? Racial issues being brought up about skin colors and nationalities. And this is entertainment? What were these people thinking?
To my knowledge Branagh is a Shakespeare lover, let me quote this.."How much did revile this film,let me count the ways". I could go on, but I shall not.
The 1974 version ran 127 minutes, this one runs 114 minutes and feel terminally longer. I squirmed and squirmed waiting for it to end. The music score, non-existent. Star turns, none to be found, excitement in the plot, 0. That about sums it up.
I simply say this, with $$$ as tight as they are, we should only be subjected ourselves to worthy films, especially when they are overblown remarks. The 1974 original is avail on DVD and in the UK and foreign markets even in a nice blu-ray version. My suggestion, spend your money on that and do not support this type of overblown ego-driven dribble.
Bye, bye Branagh, you made no friends with this tripe. You do not work much and it's understandable to see why. I read a UK review earlier that bashed this flick out of the World...good for them, they know junk when they see it. And now, so do I.
For me, I'll stick with the original anyway. As a matter of fact, I'll go and watch it now and wash this toilet water taste from my mouth, and this film from my memory
The irascible, borderline OCD, but undeniably great Belgian detective, Poirot, is dragged around the world by grateful police forces to help solve unsolvable crimes. After solving a case in Jerusalem, Poirot is called back to the UK with his mode of transport being the famous Orient Express. Trapped in the mountains by an avalanche, a murder is committed and with multiple suspects and a plethora of clues it is up to Poirot to solve the case.
Branagh enjoys himself enormously as Poirot, sporting the most distractingly magnificent facial hair since Daniel Day-Lewis in "The Gangs of New York". The moustache must have had its own trailer and make-up team!
Above all, the film is glorious to look at, featuring a rich and exotic colour palette that is reminiscent of the early colour films of the 40's. Cinematography was by Haris Zambarloukos ("Mamma Mia" and who also collaborated with Branagh on "Thor) with lots of innovative "ceiling down" shots and artful point-of-view takes that might be annoying to some but which I consider as deserving of Oscar/BAFTA nominations.
The pictures are accompanied by a lush score by Patrick Doyle (who also scored Branagh's "Thor"). Hats off also to the special effects crew, who made the alpine bridge scenes look decidedly more alpine than where they were actually filmed (on a specially made bridge in the Surrey Hills!).
All these technical elements combine to make the film's early stages look and feel truly epic.
And the cast what a cast! Dame Judi Dench ("Victoria and Abdul"); Olivia Coleman ("The Lobster"); Johnny Depp ("Black Mass"); Daisy Ridley ("Star Wars: The Force Awakens"); Penélope Cruz ("Zoolander 2"); Josh Gad (Olaf!); Derek Jacobi ("I, Claudius"); Willem Dafoe ("The Great Wall") and Michelle Pfeiffer ("mother!"). A real case again of an "oh, it's you" film again at the cinema – when's the last time we saw that?
It's also great to see young Lucy Boynton, so magnificent in last year's excellent "Sing Street", getting an A-list role as the twitchy and disturbed countess.
With all these ingredients in the pot, it should be great, right? Unfortunately, in my view, no, not quite. The film's opening momentum is really not maintained by the screenplay by Michael Green ("Blade Runner 2049"; "Logan"). At heart, it's a fairly static and "stagey" piece at best, set as it is on the rather claustrophobic train (just three carriages on the Orient Express really?). But the tale is made even more static by the train's derailment in the snow. Branagh and Green try to sex up the action where they can, but there are lengthy passages of fairly repetitive dialogue. One encounter in particular between Branagh and Depp seems to last interminably: you wonder if the problem was that the director wasn't always looking on to yell "Cut"!
All this leads to the "revelation" of the murderer as being a bit of an anticlimactic "thank heavens for that" rather than the gasping denouement it should have been. (Perhaps this would be different if you didn't know the twist).
However, these reservations aside, it's an enjoyable night out at the flicks, although a bit of a disappointment from the level of expectation I had for it. I can't be too grumpy about it, given it's a return to good old-fashioned yarn-spinning at the cinema, with great visuals and an epic cast. And that has to be good news.
For sure, Branagh does make for an amusing and engaging Poirot, even if his dialogue did need some 'tuning in' to. There was a suggestion at the end of the film that we might be seeing his return in "Death on the Nile" – the most lush and decorous of Peter Ustinov's outings – which I would certainly welcome. He will have to find another 10 A- list stars though to decorate the boat, which will be a challenge for casting!
I was not expecting for them to change character names, drop characters, have other characters change their professions, add chases (can you really see Poirot chasing someone?), Poiroit making light of his OCD (really???), a derailment, a stabbing (not Rachett), a shooting, etc that never happened in the story. Also left out was some of the logic leading to the solution. They could have made a splendid movie with all the great scenery, CGI, etc., without changing the actual story. Poor Agatha, must be having fits.
In addition, even though they had splendid actors, only Daisy Ridley and Johnny Depp gave worthy performances. All of the rest were unconvincing, even Branagh.
Then the topper.. the last scene has a officer coming to get Poirot to ask him to go to Egypt to solve a murder on the Nile. What is the world??? Poirot is supposed to already be in Egypt when the first murder is committed.
Don't waste your time on Orient Express and based on the last scene I would pass on Death on the Nile too..
In his latest film, he brings to life one of the most famous detective novels in Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express". He plays the famous (and infamous, depending on who you are) Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, who is taking a bit of a vacation on his way to his next case on the famous Orient Express. Unfortunately, fate has its own plans for him as a murder most foul (I have always wanted to use that phrase in a review) happens during a snowstorm that derails the train. No one is seen by Poirot as innocent as he questions the passengers, follows the clues, and races against time to solve the case before the local authorities arrive and could accuse the wrong person of the murder.
OK, so let me run down the cast for you: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom, Jr., Tom Bateman, Josh Gad, Penelope Cruz, Derek Jacobi, Olivia Coleman, Willem Defoe, and Dame Judi Dench. And yes, they are ALL in this thing, as well as Branagh, who also directed. Given all of that paired with the fact that this runs less than two hours, and I was intrigued on multiple levels. And trust me here: this film does not disappoint. Sure, there are some liberties taken from the source material, but none of them are so far out of the norm that will drive the fans of any previous iterations of this story. Branagh is truly enjoyable as the character who is a genius but has his own issues that actually enhance his powers of observation, and his direction is top-notch here. This is gorgeously shot, including a few shots where there is a nod to the old ways of effects, giving a tighter and more nostalgic feel to the modern telling of this tale.
The performances here are exactly what I expected from a cast of this caliber. With a story that has been around as long as "Murder on the Orient Express" has been (the book was written in 1934), there is a bit of a minefield when it comes to bringing it to life that could easily fall down the slope into parody or cariacature, but diverse screenwriter Michael Green, whose resume covers everything from "Green Lantern" to "Everwood" and even "Logan," is able to write dialogue that lets the actors really get into the skins of these characters to treat them with the proper respect and dignity. Yes, there ARE a few liberties taken with the characters themselves, but there was nothing done that gave me even a little bit of growling. Each character has its own arc and motivations that work into the larger picture in a way that is engaging with no wasted space at all.
There will be people that will find this film to be a bit outlandish, but I feel that those people are those that have not taken the time to really study the genre. Not every film has to dumb itself down to cater to the lowest common denominator, and I really enjoy it when a film tells me to engage my suspension of disbelief and simply entertain me. For great escapism and a reminder of a simpler time, "Murder on the Orient Express" achieves this goal for an audience that can truly appreciate its greatness.
The original1974 version and the Richard RODNEY Bennett score was such fun which captured the light Agatha Christie feel. This was like a very heavy plum pudding. Branagh alluded to Murder on thrnNile. Please NO Kenneth . Go back to Disney
Shot on 65mm film, aerial vistas of a train trudging through the Alps sure looks pretty. The production design also boasts of lavish set pieces, plush backdrops, and costumes tailored to that era. But really, all we want is an old fashioned murder mystery. Perhaps an amazing display of deductive reasoning before arriving at a twist ending? Surely, that isn't too much to ask. Add the mouthwatering cast in a plot that thickens into one of the most ingenious yet baffling cases penned by Christie and we have a first class whodunit in this day and age of cinema. But as it turns out, this was indeed asking for too much. Like the bloodied victim, something dies very early in the film. And that's before the story starts juggling the remaining 12 suspects into the 12 agonizing labours of Hercules. Or was it Hercule? Either way, Agatha would be aghast.
Firstly, the film is undeniably beautiful, the costumes, sets, filming etc, the film will undoubtedly win an Oscar for the visuals. You can see big money was put into the look of the film.
My major irritation throughout, was his moustache, just absurdly over the top, when Depp and Pfeiffer should have been dominating scenes, all I could look at was that moustache. That apart Branagh was excellent, I never thought he'd carry it off, but he did.
I am intrigued as to whether this is a one off film, or if there'll be the odd appearance on the big screen. Only time will tell.
All in all, it was good, I wanted and hoped to absolutely love it, unfortunately I didn't, but no way is it as bad as some say, too much quality for that.
7/10 (hoped for a perfect 10!)
Title (Brazil): "Assassinato no Expresso do Oriente" ("Murder on the Orient Express")
Perhaps the reader can tell that I love being removed from the mundanity of our ordinary existence. This beautifully constructed film filled with marvellous actors who are dressed in gorgeous timely costumes and set to work in spectacular train compartments and asked to use a perfect script will leave many cinema-goers anticipating more.
If I were much younger, I would not hunger for the movies from the Directors Period in the 70s and 80s when they were allowed to make Great Movies rather than only the money-men. In any event, see this film for its sublime attractions painted by Kenneth Branagh.