Murder on the Orient Express

In recent years, I've been used to missing out on the first few minutes of movies I decided to watch at the cinema due to my late arrival for one reason or another, I'm always irritated by this because I like to watch the couple of trailers that play before the main film.

Strangely enough, when I went to see "Murder on the Orient Express", I ended up wishing I was late for this film, even though I had arrived at the cinema half an hour earlier, which made me think I was cursed in that regard!

Why am I telling you all this?

Because for the first time (in a long time), I do not feel regretful of not having watched a movie from its opening scene, because I am pretty sure that I hadn't missed anything important.

So, if one of you intends to see this film, I advise him/her to start watching from the last 10 minutes before the intermission (don't take this literally or seriously though 😂), specifically from Johnny Depp's scene where he asks for help from detective Hercule Poirot (played by Kenneth Branagh) before the murder takes place.

This is a joint American-British production, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh. The star studded cast continues with Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Olivia Colman and Michelle Pfeiffer.

As most of you know, the film is based on a novel by the same name that was published in 1934 by famous crime novelist, Agatha Christie. The novel was very successful and has repeatedly caught the attention of filmmakers ever since its release. The first film adaptation was a British production back in 1974. The film achieved resounding public/critical acclaim. It was nominated for six Oscars.The second film adaptation was in 2001 and it was an American TV film.

The Story:

Detective Hercule Poirot investigates a murder that takes place on the train he's traveling on. I'll leave it at that, the film's title is pretty much self explanatory, and most of you, like I have, had already read the novel.

The dramatic narration killed this film

Although the story of the film is interesting and exciting, its on-screen depiction was very boring. Before the murder took place, there were a group of scenes that were supposed to let us know more about the heroes and their behavioural tendencies, but they failed miserably at achieving that. Secondly, these scenes, that should've been pivotal in the build up to the murder, came off being so annoyingly slow with almost no significant events to register. After the crime took place though, the pace of dramatic narration started to rise gradually until the film ended up being rather exciting, and worth watching, but it was too late, which made this an overall "meh" experience for me, I wanted this to be a solid film in every regard from start to finish, there's no excuse for it not to!

The Acting

With such an enormous cast of big acting talents, you'd be highly optimistic, ready to watch a great film, but it seems that the dramatic narrative was not the only drawback, but the acting was mostly disappointing and not at the required level (at least in my opinion) for a story of this grandure. Even in the most dramatic of scenes, I strongly felt that the acting wasn't at all convincing. What a shame. Each to their own of course.

The Directing

Although director Kenneth Branagh (who I'm a big fan of), had previously been nominated for five Oscars, including two awards for directing, he was disappointing in this film. Except maybe for one scene which stuck with me for a while, in which the criminal pleaded guilty while the detective confronts him in a setting similar to "the last supper".

The most depressing scene in the film was, in fact, the crime itself, because by all accounts it had to appear at a much higher artistic level with all its technical potentials, surprises and feelings, but unfortunately it was very guileless.

The pros

First, the costumes and make-up reflected the era of events in a precise and visually pleasant way. Secondly, the soundtrack which came in line with the atmosphere of "suspense and excitement" (even though there was very little of both), especially for those who have not read the novel before or seen its adaptation in earlier films.

So, in closing, here we have it: Murder on the Orient Express, an ambitious film project the public was yearning for, that could've been one of the best films of 2017, sadly though, the expectations were shattered between a very boring screenplay, mostly mediocre acting, and dreary directing.
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