Film review: Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express is arguably the finest adaptation of Christie’s novel

Here is what thought of Murder on the Orient Express. Picture: SUB/ARCHANT

Here is what thought of Murder on the Orient Express. Picture: SUB/ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Murder on the Orient Express is the latest directorial outing by Kenneth Branagh and a sumptuous retelling of the classic Agatha Christie murder mystery novel of the same name.

Set on board the titular long distance train service, the film centres on famed detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh) who is reluctantly pulled in to investigate the murder of a passenger.

As his investigation unfolds it becomes clear that each of the train’s thirteen passengers has a motive.

Branagh and cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos have crafted a beautiful, tense and moving mystery thriller.

The sweeping landscapes and dark, claustrophobic interiors of the train perfectly capture the grandeur and melancholy of Christie’s prose.


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To discuss the characters and the dark secrets they harbour would spoil one of the film’s chief pleasures.

Suffice it to say the ensemble cast are uniformly terrific.

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Branagh is marvelous as the outrageously moustachioed, fastidious detective and Johnny Depp delivers a wonderfully menacing performance as unspeakably monstrous art-dealer Edward Ratchett.

It is Josh Gad’s lugubrious secretary Hector MacQueen and Michelle Pfeiffer’s glamorous divorcee Caroline Hubbard, however, who make the most impact.

The two actors do much of the film’s emotional heavy lifting, with the latter giving a poignant speech about the nature of loss and grief during the final denouement.

Stylish and beautifully acted, Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express is arguably the finest adaptation of Christie’s novel and certainly the most enjoyable.

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