MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
* * * ½
Agatha Christie's classic murder mystery was a big hit back in 1974, starring Albert Finney as the egotistical Inspector Hercule Poirot.
The time seems right to remake the movie for a new generation of murder mystery lovers, featuring a number of established actors and some spectacular shots of the train traveling through the mountain ranges of Istanbul and France.
Kenneth Branagh directs and stars in the two-hour movie, making a perfect Poirot and surrounded by Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Defoe and a number of other actors who all own their characters.
The movie opens with a shining example of Poirot's prowess as he solves a crime in the nick of time. We are then introduced to the cast of characters boarding the Orient Express, each with their own backstory. But beware, things are not always as they seem.
The train derails during a snowstorm and a man is murdered. Everyone is a suspect. In true Christie fashion, they are all rounded up in the club car as Poirot interviews them and searches for clues.
If you read the book or have seen the original movie, you may remember "whodunit.” Or, like Joyce and I, you may have forgotten the ending. If you have not read or seen its predecessors, you probably won't figure out the ending, which is a bit long and slow in coming. We thought the movie dragged a bit as everyone became a suspect at one time or other, with red herrings thrown around recklessly.
Murder on the Orient Express is a good movie, but not a great one. The actors are all outstanding. The scenery is exciting. The story is a bit tedious at times as it uncovers hidden secrets.
Rated PG-13, for some violence.