It was undoubtedly an extremely anticipated film. Kenneth Branagh’s version of Murder on the Orient Express was finally released in France on the 13th of December. With its prestigious director and its ultra glamorous cast, this new adaptation of Agatha Christie’s famous novel was really attractive and, watching it, we discovered with great pleasure that it keeps all its promises. Here is our review of what might be the best movie of the year.
After he brilliantly solved a theft in Jerusalem, the best-known of the Belgian detectives, Hercule Poirot, has to go to London to help the police on a very complicated case. He decides to travel to Great Britain onboard the Orient Express. He hopes he can have a little bit of well-deserved rest during his journey but his plans change when one of the passengers is violently slaughtered. The only thing that is sure is that the murderer is still on the train. So, with the help of his long-time friend Mr Bouc, Hercule Poirot investigates in order to find the culprit before the train arrives at the next station.
It is this world-famous and breath-taking story, imagined in 1934 by the queen of thrillers Agatha Christie; that we are told by great British filmmaker Kenneth Branagh who seems equally at ease behind and in front of the camera. He actually greatly incarnates the moustached detective. By building up the actions rapidly in the oppressive atmosphere of the wagons, the director, who is largely accustomed to cinematographic adaptations of literary works – and who notably made several Shakespeare plays into successful films – nicely recreates the suspense the fans of the original book love.
The movie also rests on it glamorous and brilliant cast. Kenneth Branagh managed to gather around him Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer – who is a bit less present on the wide screens these days – Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Daisy Ridley (known above all for her role in the new Star Wars trilogy), Josh Gad (whom we have seen notably in Beauty and the Beast) and many others. Yet, despite their being famous Hollywood stars, none of them seems to try and outshine the others and they all play their part with great talent and never caricature their characters.
The charm of this new adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express also lies in it peculiar ambiance typical of the 1930s which is sublimated by the costumes designed by Alexandra Byrne (who received an Oscar in 2008 for the costumes of the movie Elizabeth: the Golden Age) and the settings and, notably, the pretty accurate reconstitution of the Art Deco style of the mythic train. The soundtrack composed by Patrick Doyle also underlines this particular atmosphere and it is worth adding that Michelle Pfeiffer – herself – interprets the song of the final credits.
The fans of Agatha Christie’s books (and the others) will love this new version which promises to mark the starting point of a beautiful new cinematographic saga since the last words of this movie make us expect Kenneth Branagh to adapt another novel written by the English author: Death on the Nile. We cannot wait to see it!
Murder on the Orient Express, Kenneth Branagh, USA, 2017, 1h54, released in the United Kingdom on the 3rd of November 2017, in Lebanon on the 9th of November 2017, in the United States of America on the 10th of November 2017 and in France on the 13th of December 2017.