Murder on the Orient Express


Murder_on_the_Orient_Express_teaser_posterThe biggest star in a cast of well versed actors, including Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Pfeiffer, still lovely with her little girl Southern California voice, Derek Jacobi, and the somewhat wizened Johnny Depp, was Mr. Branagh’s moustache! What can have possessed him to have a full Austrian blind on his face is anyone’s guess. It covered his lower face from literally one end of the jaw to the other, and dominated the proceedings, almost with a life of its own. The screenplay of Agatha Christie’s most turgid and almost unfilmable set piece sought to update the story, using Guy Ritchey-esque violence to shock the audience (out of its torpor presumably), adding soupçons of current concerns, racisim, genderism and Obsessive Compulsive behavioural tics.

Kenneth Branagh who plays Hercule Poirot very straight, as he must, resists the temptation to humanise the character. I am certain that anyone who saw the classic series of Poirot starring David Suchet, would admit that he created an indelible character, prissy, self absorbed and ultimately human and adorable. We root for The Poirot he interpreted. We savor his victories, even his tiny defeats and disappointments. Alas, Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot, alight with modernist moral angst and self-righteous to a fault, does not engage with the characters in the movie much less the audience. His Poirot seems more Prussian than Belgian, a very tied up in knots character indeed. The denouement was labored and we all agreed that the scene of the main protagonists, sitting at a long table at the end of a tunnel in the dead of winter with no source of heat waiting for judgement, tested one’s level of suspension of disbelief.

The movie has sumptuous scenery and costumes and it was fun to see the special effects. But special effects do not an absorbing movie make.

Three stars, basically for the popcorn in the Curzon theater, first rate, and the comfortable seats.

Kaaren Hale



One Response to “Murder on the Orient Express”

  1. Agreed. Beautiful and boring. The seats in Manhattan’s Cinema 1 are seriously comfortable too…..perfect for an occasional nap.

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