'Murder on the Orient Express': An Incomprehensive Film Review
"Zere 'as been a merder on zis trayn!"
For some reason, I went to watch this film. I booked a first class ticket on the Orient Express, and I'm jealous of the murder victim because they didn't have to sit through the whole boring journey.
So, here is a less-than-comprehensive review about the film, including some blatantly untrue facts.
How did the STORY go?
Well, well, well, what a bloody crazy mystery! I tell you what, you're going to be ruddy surprised!
If you haven't read Agatha Christie's 1934 novel Murder on the Orient Express, and you haven't seen Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Murder on the Orient Express (2001), Agatha Christie's Poirot: Murder on the Orient Express (2010), or the Japanese adaptation; Oriento kyuukou satsujin jiken (2015), then you're in for a real shock!
The story follows humble detective, Hercule Poirot, who claims to be the greatest detective in the world, as he tries to solve a murder, on the Orient Express, hence the title: Murder on the Orient Express.
It's a classic whodunit with famous archetypes like "butler," "professor," "mysterious man," and "mysterious woman," all coming under suspicion from Hercule.
What actors can I expect to look at for 1h 54min?
The film boasts a very impressive cast, with famous faces like Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Judi Dench, Penélope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, and Willem Dafoe all playing suspects. It seems like they must have spend a lot of money getting such an impressive cast together; one could even argue that they spent money on actors that should have been put towards a better screenwriter, or a bigger green-screen budget.
The biggest issue here is that there are so many characters crammed into a less than two-hour film, so none of them are ever fully explored, and so the many talented actors go completely to waste. Even the protagonist, Hercule, seems more like a caricature rather than a character, and so he is very difficult to engage with.
It is also very unpleasant to look at Johnny Depp's face, partly due to the state of it, but also due to how much of a bad bloke he is. So I would advise closing your eyes for those scenes to make the film a tad more bearable.
Who made this film?
Kenneth Branagh, directed and starred. He has over 60 acting credits, including his truly incredible performance as Gilderoy Lockhart in 2002's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but he is best known as a director for Cinderella,Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and the firstThor.
When casting for this film, Branagh discovered a serious problem; there are no Belgian actors. None at all. Not one person from Belgium has taken up a career in acting, so the film was very nearly cancelled because they couldn't find a Hercule Poirot. So, Branagh himself had to reluctantly step forward and take on the role and do his best to attempt a Belgian accent. Inspirational story.
As for the screenplay, it was written by some random bloke called Michael Green, who took Agatha Christie's iconic story and squashed it and warped it into the horrible mess that I had to sit through.
What was the moustache budget on this film?
According to IMDb, the total budget of the film came in at around $55,000,000. It is thought that 80 percent of that went towards the moustaches for the film. That's $44,000,000 on facial hair alone!
The majority of that money, however, went on Poirot's extravagant stash. The original plan was to have every character sport a mouth brow, however the expenses that went on Poirot's meant that characters played by Judi Dench and Daisy Ridley couldn't have the upper lip plumage that was intended.
Branagh has stated in interviews that the Moustache Budget would be significantly raised for future films, and that the Poirot 'stache would receive a pay rise of its own, given the difficult working conditions of being stuck to Kenneth Branagh's face all day.
Should you go see this film?
I would say no, don't waste your time.
If you're interested in this mystery, then I would recommend reading the original book, or having someone read it to you. Or watch one of the many other film adaptations, or watch it on stage, or watch your child's school production of it, because you really need to start supporting you child's acting endeavours, or they'll develop some nasty trust issues and you won't get thanked in their Oscar speech, then you'll feel like a bit of a mug, eh?
If you like trains then head on over to the National Railway Museum in York, it's a lovely day out, in a nice city, there is much less chance of being murdered or being accused of murder, and it's free so you've got nothing to lose. Check it out here.
MY RATING: 3 Carriages out of 12 Carriages
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