A Deadly Train Trip
When the film on the screen goes black, a mild applause breaks the silence in the dark movie theater. Drama, action, love, loss, murder - all of these raise the age-old question, who is the killer? The 20th Century Fox film Murder on the Orient Express, based on Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel, is not the first film to bring Christie’s novel to life. However, the 2017 version, directed by Kenneth Branagh, managed to produce a film that may well receive a few Academy Award nominations.
The film takes place in the 1930s as world-famous detective Hercule Poirot (performed by Kenneth Branagh), who can see the tiniest of details and clues, finishes a case and begins to head back home to England. Poirot runs into an old friend Bouc (performed by Tom Bateman), who owns the lavish train The Orient Express, and offers Poirot a ride on the train to help him get home.
However, the lavish train is soon struck by a tragedy. Gangster Edward Ratchett (performed by Johnny Depp) receives death threats, and offers Poirot money to watch his back, but Poirot refuses. Shortly after. Ratchett is found murdered after the train gets hit with an avalanche. It is up to Poirot to find the murderer, or murderers, to keep the rest of the passengers on the train safe.
The 2017 version of film has some big shoes to fill. The 1974 film adaptation is rated 91% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and has a 79% audience score, along with Ingrid Bergman winning the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in the film. These shoes, however, might have been too big to fill. The new film has a 58% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has a 62% audience score.
These scores rate the movie fairly well, but do not capture the film as a whole. The soundtrack plays into the film seamlessly, while still managing to bring the 1930s era sound back to the big screen. On top of that, the music is able to add suspense when it is needed and is able to match the right music with the moment that is happening on the screen. The costumes and sets nails the era's as well. The dresses and suits transport you back to the 1930s. Branagh’s performance of Poirot entrances you into loving the detective and his methods. Depp’s performance of Ratchett is able to portray a gangster flawlessly.
On top of that, the cast has a lot of A-list actors and actresses including: Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom Jr., Penelope Cruz, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Judi Dench and Willem Dafoe. These stars did make the movie more interesting, though their performance could have been better. In comparison to the pool of skilled actors, Depp and Branagh's performances shined through the other actors performances, but having the movie depend on these two actors performances was disappointing to say the least.
Overall, although it is a great movie, it could be better. Despite this, the film is a enjoyable to watch and an overall entertaining experience.