Murder on the Orient Express


Johnny Depp plays American gangster Ratchett, who checks onto the luxurious Orient Express Discuss this article

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Glamorous passengers are stuck on a train while a murderer is on the loose – it’s a jolly good job the detective Hercule Poirot (director Kenneth Branagh) is among them. As they board the train in their finery, it’s easy to get distracted by the casting in this Agatha Christie adaptation, which is just as glittering as its 1974 predecessor. Johnny Depp plays American gangster Ratchett, who checks onto the luxurious Orient Express looking nervously over his shoulder, as well he might. His staff are Edward Masterman (Sir Derek Jacobi) and Hector MacQueen (Josh Gad), while fellow passengers include Princess Dragomiroff (Dame Judi Dench), her maid Hildegarde Schmidt (Olivia Colman), the religious Pilar Estravados (Penelope Cruz) and governess Mary Debenham (Daisy Ridley). That’s a lot of thesp heft, but this adaptation seems unlikely to be nominated for as many Oscars as Sidney Lumet’s lauded version.

First off, there’s Branagh, hamming it up with a horrifying moustache that looms monstrously on the big screen. His pompous, fussy one-liners are tired and unfunny. Several other actors are saddled with dialogue as creaky as the wheezing train brakes, indicating how increasingly hard it is to update Christie.

But then… there is Michelle Pfeiffer. She’s positively luminous as a flirty widow, and delivers one moving scene that, along with her appearance in Mother!, makes 2017 a strong Pfeiffer year. Tom Bateman is great fun as train boss Bouc (Christie was perhaps best at writing comically frivolous characters). And Branagh’s pacy direction helps the story zip along to a conclusion that’s tense even if you remember whodunnit, and all the art deco design touches are fabulous, too.

The bottom line
Want a solid whodunnit? Get, ahem, on board.

By Anna Smith
Time Out Doha,

Murder on the Orient Express

  • Duration: 114
  • Released: Fri, 10 Nov
  • Language: English
  • Director: Kenneth Branagh
  • Stars: Daisy Ridley, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer

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