Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express

2017.  Directed by Kenneth Brannagh. 

By Brian Wallinger. 

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In the most recent adaptation of the critically acclaimed Agatha Christie novel, Kenneth Branagh's take on the mystery Murder on the Orient Express is a technically proficient film that is derailed by shallow characters and a lack of a progression.

Everything from the costume designs conceived by Alexandra Byrne, to the musical score composed by Patrick Doyle, as well as the enticing cinematography by Haris Zambarloukes all hit their marks and deserve to be praised.  Meanwhile the film's direction by Branagh and the screenplay written by Michael Green ultimately keep the film from elevating itself to the height of the previous Lumet adaptation of the story.

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Branagh stars as Hercule Poirot, a very particular and perceptive police inspector.  While his performance is full of charm and wit, there is so much focus on the character that it leaves the rest of the cast in the cold. Penelope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Daisy Ridly, and Johnny Depp are all given an uneven amount of screen time and minimal engagement while the rest of the cast is forgettable.

The film has a great feel and atmosphere that is commendable though it's execution feels misguided. Murder On The Orient Express is a visually impressive film that unfortunately outpaces an underwhelming ensemble performance.  

☆☆

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