Sunday, 5 November 2017

Murder On The Orient Express Film Review

Murder on the Orient Express, directed by Kenneth Branagh as Poirot; is a Christmas Day all star cast Agatha Christie whodunnit, on a luxury train where there's nowhere to run.

The film begins in Jerusalem with the age old joke of a priest, a rabbi and an imam. The suspects in the theft of a priceless antiquity. But Hercule Poirot is on the case with a deft twirl of his moustache, 'the most magnificent in all of England', and slick positioning of his cane. Equilibrium restored by the Wailing Wall, Hercule finds himself needed in London. Fortunately the Orient Express Director of Operations, played by Tom Bateman, is an old friend, and manages to find him a berth on the famous train.

Among the other passengers are The Gangster Johnny Depp, The Princess Judi Dench, The Maid Olivia Colman, The Governess Daisy Ridley, The Doctor, (the awesome) Leslie Odom Jr, The Professor Willem Dafoe, The Missionary Penélope Cruz, The Widow Michelle Pfeiffer, The Count Sergei Polunin, The Countess Lucy Boynton, The Butler Derek Jacobi, The Secretary Josh Gad and The Businessman Manuel Garcia-Rulfo. And all dressed in gorgeous period costumes created by Alexandra Byrne. I loved Johnny Depp's leather coat.

An avalanche halts the train, and one of the guests is murdered while the track is blocked. To be honest, with such a wealth of great actors it doesn't actually matter which one. But everyone is then a suspect, and subjected to Poirot's lickity split interrogation. Without much time to really understand the characters, or their motivations, until the denouncement. Which then tests Poirot's need for order, method, and 4 minute boiled eggs that must be symmetrical. Boy he's good, while we're still working out who everyone is, or pretending to be, he's solved the crime.

Case closed to his satisfaction; 'there is right, there is wrong and nothing in-between', Poirot is needed on the Nile.

Filming was with 65mm Panavision cameras. The last four in the world apparently. Giving a lush richness to the screen. And travelling with the guests on the train was a privilege, the food looks amazing, and the sets divine, if the cabins a little narrow. The real Orient Express, (for this of course was filmed on a set with engine and four cabins), in March 2018, will have three new suites; the Paris, Venice and Istanbul. With en-suite bathrooms and double beds. And of course perfectly symmetrical eggs.

Sign me up for the Venice.

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