Murder, suspense, beautiful costumes and scenery, what more could one want from a movie? Murder on the Orient Express, released on Nov. 10 2017, is adapted from Agatha Christie’s murder mystery of the same title, originally published on Jan. 1 1934. Visually stunning and full of intrigue, it is sure to become one of my favorite movies, the kind of movie to curl up in a blanket, and shut out the rest of the world.
Kenneth Branagh stars and directs the film, perfectly stepping into the shoes of possibly the greatest detective ever, Hercule Poirot. The movie opens with a gorgeous sweeping shoot of Istanbul, where the audience catches the first glimpse of Poirot’s genius and OCD tendencies. A recurring characteristic of Poirot is his attention to detail, requesting two perfectly identical eggs for breakfast each morning. Poirot quickly solves a case of a missing religious relic, establishing his credibility for the film. After receiving a call demanding his expertise in France on a case, Poirot boards the Orient Express.
I will not get too into the plot, and I do not want to spoil anything, but the basic premise is there are 13 eccentric and varying personalities aboard the orient, 14 including Poirot. After an avalanche leaves the train temporarily stranded, there are only 12 remaining, now all suspects, and it is up to Poirot to catch the killer, before the train reaches their next stop, and the killer could get away.
The characters truly make the film, and with a star studded cast, each actor and actress bring their characters to life beautifully. Michelle Pfeiffer plays the opulent and many times divorced Caroline Hubbard, Penélope Cruz the pious Pilar Estravados and Daisy Ridley and Leslie Odom Jr., Miss Mary Debenham and Dr. Arbuthnot respectively, play secret lovers kept apart by contrasting skin tones. The ornate costumes and set design combine beautifully with theses rich characters to create a film bursting with flavor and intensity.
The characters drive this complex storyline, and while I like to think I could predict what was to come, I was left guessing until the end. This movie is a gorgeous mystery thriller that focuses more on the human emotions and motives and less on the gore of murder making it a suitable film for just about anyone. It was the kind of film that even after the screen had gone dark, I just wanted to hop back on the Orient Express again.