The British mystery writer Agatha Christie makes her return to the big screen this weekend when the star-studded remake of “Murder on the Orient Express” find its way into theaters across the U.S. . Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh, “Dunkirk“, “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit“) , Christie’s famous Belgian detective, is in desperate need of a break and decides to take one by riding back to London ,where a new case awaits him, on the famous Orient Express. Fate would have a different idea for Mr. Poirot when a passenger, Ratchett (Johnny Depp, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them“, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales“) ends up dead and while the Express is stranded be an avalanche he is called upon to help solve the case before the train gets to the next stop. Poirot interviews his way through the very eclectic passenger manifest that includes a British nanny (Daisy Ridley, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens“), a doctor (Leslie Odom Jr., “Red Tails“, “Law & Order: SVU“), a Russian princess (Dame Judi Dench, “Victoria & Abdul“, “Tulip Fever“), an American woman (Michelle Pfeiffer, “Mother!“, “Dark Shadows“) and a plethora of other rich characters. Poirot’s interviews begin to unravel a nest of lies and an intricate murder plot that will keep you guessing. Will Hercule Poirot be able to solve this “Murder on the Orient Express” before the train makes ts way to its next stop?
“Murder on the Orient Express” started with a great source material and piled on the star power (not only the stars above but Josh Gad (“Marshall“, “Frozen“), Penelope Cruz (“American Crime Story“, “Zoolander 2” and Willem Defoe (“Death Note“, “What Happened to Monday“) as well), but fails to capture the magic of either leaving the audience with several moments of boredom. The adaptation of Christie’s seminal mystery novel fell flat maybe in part due to a lack of pace and intriguing use of the camera, but I think the majority of the blame goes to a weak use of the star power housed within the camera’s lens. With a cast as talented as “Murder on the Orient Express” has, the emotion and tension should have been stellar unfortunately perhaps the power of all these stars cancelled each other out. I am sad that this film did not reach the heights that I thought it would with such an intricately well plotted out story. “Murder on the Orient Express” looks stunning and honestly that is the best part of this film though I am a huge fan of the aesthetic it is not enough to make this film the masterpiece that it could have easily been. If the studios decide to return to the world of Hercule Poirot (the movie did leave it open..hint perhaps a trip down the Nile) I hope they learn from this film and tone down the star power so that they can focus more on the story.
“Murder on the Orient Express” did not live up to its potential, but still isn’t a horrible film. Though like I said it did not utilize all the great resources that it had going for it, the film still is mildly entertaining and not a bad way to spend a little of your day. If you are looking for an easy way to spend an afternoon and not a tension filled murder mystery that keeps you super engaged then the 2017 remake of “Murder on the Orient Express” might just be the movie for you.