As a high school freshman, one of the most memorable class periods of that year was when my creative writing teacher read “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie. She became the characters through voices and over-the-top expressions, which was not difficult seeing as Christie herself is fond overthe- top characters; she took us through the evidence piece by piece, and she slammed us with the, at the time, wholly shocking revelation.
This led me to see the newest adaptation of the mega best-selling author’s work “Murder on the Orient Express”.
The movie follows Christie’s classic, compulsive Hercule Poirot, played by director Kenneth Branagh, who boards the luxury Orient Express after solving a mystery in Israel during the opening minutes of the film. His plans for a relaxing trip devoid of mysteries and investigations are buried under an avalanche that halts the train and traps the inhabitants inside.
However, the snow becomes the least of their worries as it becomes evident that a murderer is within the cabins of the train. Poirot trades holiday for work to demonstrate why he is the world’s greatest detective.
Like the original movie released in the 1970’s, part of the movie’s attraction is the allstar cast of suspects, including Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom Jr, Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer and Josh Gad.
Depp characatures an early twentieth century gangster that receives no remorse from the other characters as he assumes the role of the antagonist, while Ridley creates a picturesque portrayal of the high-end beauty Mary Debenham.
However, the immersive performances of these actors are lost in the focus on the Poirot’s investigative efforts. Creative camera angles help convey the characters’ emotional distress as Branagh’s Poirot conducts his busman’s holiday.
While faltering in development of what should be fascinating characters, the story moves along in an entertaining fashion that still presents a special something to those who enjoy Christie’s type of mystery storytelling. I give this movie a 3/5 stars.