2017 has really been the year of remakes- from Beauty and the Beast, The Mummy, and Rings, most of these reboots have received mediocre reviews. That is why, when it was announced that Agatha Christie’s Murder On The Orient Express was being adapted for the screen for the fifth time, I was understandably skeptical. Sidney Lumet’s 1974 adaptation was fantastic and left little to be desired in the form of a remake. However, upon seeing the talented cast, which featured stars like Johnny Depp, Dame Judi Dench, and Michelle Pfeiffer, I couldn’t resist buying a ticket.
The cast certainly didn’t disappoint. Kenneth Branagh (who was also the director) gave a new depth to the iconic detective Poirot- he was witty, likeable, and very entertaining to watch. His script featured some incredible, memorable lines- both serious and comedic in nature.
The rest of the cast were fantastic as well, and gave strong performances. However, the characters themselves had something missing- despite their backstories being developed, they weren’t actually very strong characters. I think this comes down to it being a murder-mystery, the film didn’t have time to have the characters bond or argue- it was all about the mystery at hand- but since the film is character-based in the way it tells the story, it meant there was sometimes a lack of depth in the plot.
Nevertheless, the film made it up to me with it’s stunning cinematography, costumes, and set design. The barren, white landscapes the train travelled through contrasted the opulent, art-deco train interior and gave the film an old-fashioned, glamorous feel to it. The highlight of this 30s style was demonstrated with Dame Judi Dench’s Princess Dragomiroff. The princess’s outfits were dramatic and exuded royal riches. This type of mystery is rarely seen in today’s blockbusters, but leaves me craving more of it.
Overall, I would give this film a strong 7/10. I’ve seen lots of reviews branding the film as ‘boring’, which I honestly couldn’t disagree with more. Personally, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, marvelling at the gorgeous, luscious landscapes, and losing myself in the intricate plot. However, I definitely feel like the characters are missing something, which I think stops it from becoming as great as it could have otherwise been.