THE COFFEE BREAK REVIEWS: Murder On The Orient Express (2017)

Seen it already? You can now add your own rating out of 5 at the end of this review for all other readers to see!
Written By: Rick Masters
All Abroad!
Fill a train with a most impressive cast line up, throw in a grisly murder mystery and a quest to find out who done it and you got yourself a delightful little movie which will most certainly entertrain.
A take on Agatha Christie’s popular novel Murder on the Orient Express, the story follows that of detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh), who is called on business to London, and so takes the last available room on the Orient Express. Though wanting nothing more than to relax and enjoy his journey, he inadvertently finds himself working, when one of the passengers is mysteriously killed. Stranded due to an avalanche, he’s provided the time to get to the bottom of this murky affair.

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Its a wonderful simple story which sees detective Poirot go from guest to guest questioning them on their whereabouts on that fateful night. The opening scene did worry me somewhat with it’s overly smart-arsed series of events, akin to that of a last few SHERLOCK tv episodes. It risked going off the rails and being too clever, well beyond believable, but thankfully for the main mystery it calms itself down.
The 1h 54minruntime steams by as I sat and enjoyed first class performances from all the cast. Stand out characters were Daisy Ridley’s Miss Mary Debenham, Josh Gad’s Hector MacQueen, Leslie Odom Jr.’s Dr. Arbuthnot and of course the brilliant Kenneth Branagh as the brilliantly quirky and intelligent Hercule Poirot. Only Michelle Pfeiffer’s performance lacked somewhat and took away from what could have been a much more emotional scene towards the end.

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

For a story that takes place almost entirely on a train, the director uses the limited space well, for as this narrative unfolds, it doesn’t feel too claustrophobic, even in the narrow hallways and the tight compact cabins. Shifting the camera into creative perspectives at times helps keep the scenes fresh and visually stimulating (I especially enjoyed the birds eye view of the murder scene). The pacing is snappy and energetic and at no point feels like its running out of steam. Kenneth Branagh should also be commended for the way he juggles a story consisting of such a myriad of actors, by giving each character their own perspectives and motives, helps to keep the viewer on their toes; questioning every nuance and detail and while some are barely given any screen time, most feel substantially explored.
Overall Murder on the Orient Express conducts itself well, an interesting “who done it?” mystery that will keep you guessing throughout. Wonderfully paced and fantastically performed. After something a bit different from your usual sci-fi/superhero adventure? Then this is just the ticket!

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