I went to see this film on Friday night which was it's opening night. I hadn't heard a lot about it in all honesty it just happened to be my other half's turn to pick a film. I also hadn't seen very many trailers for this film at all. It seemed to come out of nowhere. Of course I'd heard of Poirot, having lived with an elderly person who loved the TV series. However it was actually quite nice not knowing anything about the film beforehand.
In case you haven't seen any trailers for the film it features a lot of quite highly ranked actors and actresses. Including roles played by the likes of Willem Dafoe, Dame Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad and Kenneth Branagh.
Anyway, lets get on with it.
As you may have already guessed Murder on the Orient Express is an adaption of one of Agatha Christie's Poirot novels. I haven't read the book myself but if it's even half as good as the film then it will definitely be a great read.
I don't have a lot of negative things to say about the film, so I'll crack on with the positives first. In my opinion the film was fantastic. I couldn't look away from the screen. From the first scene where an unlikely group of people enter a famously first class train along with the accidental attendance of Hercule Poirot, to the last scene where you finally find out who exactly did it. Most all-star cast were great especially Josh Gadd who is really showing that he can play anyone- a talking snowman, Disney's first openly gay character and now a depressed alcoholic. I was especially happy to watch Dafoe's performance since he's one of my favourite actors. However this could have easily gone wrong considering sometimes a famous cast doesn't make a good film.
One thing that can be disappointing about a murder/mystery film can be whether you can guess the murderer easily. About a quarter of the way into the film I thought I had it figured out, turns out I was wrong. Well, half wrong. If you're reading this and have already seen the film then you'll know what I mean. The film wasn't predictable either, so I didn't find myself sitting there yawning because I could see that scene coming from a mile away.
Now let's talk about the main man. Poirot. Kenneth Branagh isn't an actor I can say I've heard of. However I have to say that his performance as one of the most famous literary detectives was amazing. It's surely a risky business trying to find someone perfect to play such a well known character. Especially when that character has already been brought to the TV screen in a British Drama in 1989. That being said I think that Branagh was the perfect person to portray the worlds greatest detective with a hint of OCD. Although looking a little more aged than the TV series Poirot, Branagh was a picture with his excellently pressed mustache and his Belgian accent. He portrayed Poirot's need for everything to be perfect and 'just so' very well also. He still managed to make us chuckle with his rudeness and left us in awe of how exactly he knew so many facts from so little evidence.
I read some other reviews of this film after seeing it, although it didn't end up getting a bad score on sites like Rotten Tomatoes I did find all the negative reviews had a similar pattern. They all mentioned that the all star cast was a bad choice. They also referred to the film as a 'Cast-astrophe' mentioning that 'all star casts result in duff movies' which I don't agree with in this case.
However something I can pick out of the film is the lack of need for Johnny Depp. Don't get me wrong I am a huge fan of Depp's acting. I just think that if anyone else played his character it wouldn't have had a negative impact on the film at all. Depp's true brilliance didn't shine through in his portrayal of Edward Ratchett. In honestly he seemed to give a lazy performance overall.
Although having said that it wasn't just Depp that disappointed. I also found Michelle Pfeiffer's portrayal of Mrs Hubbard very wooden and overacted. Perhaps another actress should have been considered for this role.
There isn't anything else negative that I could have said about this film. Apart from a couple of casting and acting issues it was flawless. If you've read this whole review and still haven't booked your tickets to see it then what are you waiting for?
Let me know what you thought in the comments!