Oh Branagh…Professor Lockhart, Benedick and now the fabulous mustache donning Hercule Poirot in this lavish Agatha Christie infused murder mystery. From directing, acting and writing this man’s talent has no end; playing incredible homage to the source material, Murder on the Orient Express has a true ‘whodunit’ classic feel about it.
Poirot, the world’s most famous detective desperately wants to take a break but it seems the universe won’t grant him his wish. Being called on a case imminently he hitches a ride on the Orient Express with help from friend and charmer Bouc (Tom Bateman) in the hope to rejuvenate on the train until his expertise is required after finding ‘gangster’ Ratchett (Depp) stabbed to death in his cabin.
As the film transforms into a big game of Cluedo minus the candlestick, it’s impossible to refrain from connecting the dots. You suspect everyone and for a split second you even suspect the two fluffy dogs permanently attached to Princess Dragomiroff (Dench), although which one was it? After an unexpected avalanche, these strangers are stranded on a mountain with a murderer on the loose which means only one thing – Poirot needs to solve this case and quickly.
This outstanding cast of such big names work seamlessly on screen together. From the fresh new blood of Daisy Ridley, the familiar face of Depp and Cruz all the way to the queen herself, Dench, everyone above, over and in between mark their territory. Consequently, having such a wealth of actors on screen together it’s hard to devote time to all of them. Successfully providing us with enough backstory to go on for the most part but disappointingly so Olivia Coleman as Dench’s dog groomer was severely under used. This BAFTA winning actress barely has any lines and most of them are in German. Not to mention the list of other actors plastered over posters who are barely in this. Nevertheless, Branagh approaches this role with Peculiarity, eccentricity and OCD in a somewhat Cumberbatch fashion, albeit Branagh owns this, just as Batch owns Sherlock. The man is deliciously funny throughout, so much so that even if you take away the absurd facial hair he would have been just as hilarious.
Just as he manipulates his version of Poirot, Branagh twists and turns this universe subsequently borrowed from Christie with beyond fluid directing utilising CGI in the best possible manner. The stand-out beautifully flowing scene of our characters embarking upon their journey is sure to make you sigh at all its glory. There’s no escaping how dialogue heavy this especially considering its near 2 hours running time, yet the luxurious steam train setting provides solid ammunition to keep one’s mind on solving the puzzle. Moments of seat shuffling may occur but perhaps that’s just down to the eagerness of wanting to find out who killed Captain Jack, erm Ratchett.
Murder on the Orient Express is undoubtedly a breath of fresh air in amongst regurgitated horrors and action flicks, this is sure to get your Sherlock senses tingling and a chortle in your throat. Ultimately, this is a one hit wonder. Once the big reveal takes place, there leaves little room for the desire of a repeat viewing, no matter how impressive the tash is. Whether you have read the novel or seen the 70’s adaptations, welcome Branagh’s flare with suspecting eyes and let this extravagant tale consume you. Now – if you could just straighten your tie Sir that would be great!
Murder on the Orient Express is out in cinemas today