Movie of The Week
Murder on The Orient Express
Three out of Four Stars
Written by Michael Green
Directed by Kenneth Branagh
Release Date: November 10, 2017
Starring: Kenneth Branagh
Leslie Odom Jr.
Crime solving is back and in full effect! I enjoyed this movie so much that I can hardly write this. I adore Agatha Christie’s work. I was afraid that the book would not be done justice, but I was afraid for no reason.
I must tell you that the shots of the wintery scenery were beautiful. My favorite scene has Branagh standing in front of the cast with the train and the mountains behind him…breathtaking! I love good directing and cinematography. On to the acting. At first glance of the list of stars, I thought it would be chucked full of hogwash, but it wasn’t. Everyone, including Michelle Pfeiffer, gave an outstanding performance. I would not say that any of them were Oscar-worthy, but I wouldn’t be mad if Branagh got a nod for his directorial skills.
The heart of the movie isn’t realized until after the murder takes place, but it is so gripping and cruel until you feel nothing for the dead man. Johnny Deep plays Ratchett, a criminal businessman whom no one seems to care much for. We want to love Johnny for his looks and ever-present tan, but we just can’t stand him in this film. Willem Dafoe is fooling no one (even me) with his fake accent and rudeness. If there were a character that could have been better played, I would have to say it was this one. The professor gave no education to the audience, and we would certainly be snoozing in his class. Next on the list would have to be Penelope Cruz. I am a Cruz fan. I love her work. However, I was not grabbed by her in this film. I think that may have had something to do with the direction of her character. We are drawn to the scars on her hands, and she says that she trains to fight, but that is all we get. We don’t get a flashback of much for her until near the end when we have already pretty much put two and two together. That’s ok; we still love her.
Leslie Odom Jr. gives a pretty solid performance as the sole brother (pun intended) on the train. We know that he is linked to Mary and we know that it is a romantic link, but not sure at first if it is mutual. We later find out that it is and how they have come to know each other. The story is solid, and the ending is one that could not be predicted if you are not familiar with the work, so it was on overall great whodunit!
We should make note that two of the stars of the movie are not credited, but do their due diligence in making the film a hit and those credits go to the “mustache” and the “cane.”
I am looking forward to the Sequel “Death on The Nile” which is in development at Fox with Green as the writer and hopefully Branagh as the director.