Movie: Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
My Rating: 4 stars
I enjoy a good costume drama. And, murder mysteries are fun too. So, I was plenty happy to go see this movie in the theater, even though it was pretty clearly one of Kenneth Branagh’s many vanity projects. But, I won’t hold it against him. I’d probably do the same thing if I had his reputation and resources. I’d cast myself in so many classic roles—the crazier the costumes, the better. And, I suppose this classic story was about due for a big, glossy remake.
Fortunately, the filmmakers did a beautiful job with this project. The sets and cinematography are gorgeous. The costumes are very fun. And, I’ve never wanted to eat tiny cakes off of fine china more than I did after watching this movie. It almost makes travelling by train seem appealing. My mom, after seeing this movie, even called up and volunteered that if I ever wanted to take her on a luxury train trip across Europe, she’d definitely be up for going. But, then I remembered the grimy conditions of the first class sleeping cars I’ve traveled in during my time jaunting around Europe in college, which led me to rethink the whole ordeal. I think the days of enjoying cut crystal glasses, gourmet chefs, and velvet cushions during rail travel are unfortunately over.
I’ve never actually seen the previous incarnations of this story on film. There do seem to be quite a few. But, I haven’t heard any Agatha Christie fans complaining about this version departing from the original story too much. So, I’ll assume that this movie is a relatively faithful adaptation. But even if it weren’t, I think it a successful revival of the old-timey murder mystery genre. It retains the glamour of the era. And, it includes some of the cheesy, improbable resolutions to the various mysteries raised. I don’t think it would be very impressive as a new work of original fiction, but for a remake of a classic story, I find it very fun.
I’ll leave it up to you whether you should see this film or not. I don’t think I’d say it’s a must-see for people who aren’t particularly interested in this genre. But, if you have a soft spot in your heart for Agatha Christie and the crazy antics of Hercule Poirot, then you’ll probably get a kick out of this one. Branagh is especially over the top in the role. And as I mentioned before, the scenery and sets are absolutely stunning. Because of that, I really enjoyed seeing this movie on the big screen. But, I think you can probably gauge your own interested in this film better than I can.