Movie Review – Murder On the Orient Express (2017)

God damn.  Hercule Poirot is one bad ass baller.  Kickin’ ass, takin’ names and givin’ free mustache rides.

BQB here with a review of “Murder on the Orient Express.”

New life has been breathed into Agatha Christie’s long lasting tale of murder most foul.

Have you ever been to a murder mystery party?  A series of interesting characters are introduced, someone is murdered, and a wise detective spells out how he cracked the case?

Well, you can thank Ole Aggie for that.  Here, the classic formula is revisited.  In the 1930s, internationally infamous detective/Frenchman/mustache enthusiast Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) boards a train, headed for his next case.

Alas, our mustachioed friend can’t catch a break.  Instead of catching some “Zzz’s” on his trip, he catches a case when of the passengers is murdered.  Yes, murder!  Murder, I say!

Poirot is a cursed genius – a genius because he can focus in on key details that most gloss over, but cursed because this makes life very hard for him.  Most people are able to set aside life’s little flaws whereas Poirot sees disorder and disarray wherever he goes, to the point where it makes him uncomfortable to see a disheveled tie.

Throughout the investigation, he puts the screws to a rogue’s gallery of potential murderers.  It’s a star studded cast with the some pretty big names – Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dame Judy Dench, Willem Dafoe, Josh Gad, just to name a few.

Overall, it’s a fun walk back into time.  There are some social justice twists for the modern viewer.  The film largely takes place on the train so at times it feels like a play unfolding before your eyes.  Poirot is one of the more beloved characters in the mystery genre, perhaps even in literature, so Branagh has a big score in this role.

God, I remember having the hots for Michelle Pfeiffer when I was a kid, watching her play Catwoman in “Batman Returns.”  Now she likes Granny-ish, though honestly, she’s held up pretty good.  I’d still do her.  Call me, Michelle.

It’s fun, at times a bit dark and gloomy.  The story itself is a master class in how mystery stories are crafted so any aspiring writers out there should check it out.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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3 thoughts on “Movie Review – Murder On the Orient Express (2017)

  1. sledpress says:

    Just caught it on Saturday. I share your amazement at the mustache. I spent more time than I should have wondering if he grew at least part of it or if it was entirely a creation of the makeup department.

    I’d add that the landscape through which the train travels practically deserves the title of supporting actor. It’s absolutely amazing. And am I the only one who was niggled by a Chekov gun that didn’t go off? Did you spot it?

    • I might have missed that one. I guess it’s ok to give a spoiler since only 3.5 people read this blog. I thought the point of him putting the gun down on the table at the end was to see if any of them were capable of killing again. He figured they were all normally good people and but for this one bad guy they weren’t killers. So he puts the gun down and gives them the chance to kill him and all decide they’d rather go to jail than shoot him…except Michelle….she points it at him, but then I guess she decided against it and tries to kill herself so..I thought he was going to at least lock Michelle up since she was the only one that went for the gun but I guess in the end she wasn’t able to shoot anyone but herself.

      • sledpress says:

        Well, in this case the Chekov gun — by which Chekov meant an object/situation shown matter of factly early in the story (a gun on the mantelpiece) that turns into an essential linchpin of the plot (at a critical moment someone snatches the gun and fires it) — was more or less the terrain itself. Think of all those lingering shots that showed the derailed cars at the head of the train and then the position of the occupied cars on top of that huge gantry that bridged the giant crevasse they were crossing when they hit the avalanche. We saw one fall from the train onto snowy ground, and had one interview in an open car whose doors looked straight down on the abyss. I was cringing at the thought that either the whole train would cascade down the mountainside, or some person would go off that sheer drop. It gave me the heebiejeebies. Yet nothing ever really happened there.

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