“Murder on the Orient Express”

Release Date: November 10, 2017

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for violence and thematic elements)


Kenneth Branagh’s “Murder on the Orient Express” is cinematically appealing.  The whodunnit story, directed by Branagh and adapted for the screen by Michael Green from the novel by best-selling author Agatha Christie, offers fascinating characters, plot twists, and solid performances that are nearly eclipsed by the beautiful cinematography of the film’s director of photography, Haris Zambarloukos.  

“Murder on the Orient Express” tells the tale of thirteen individuals stranded on a train who become suspects when one of them is murdered.  It is up to the clever Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh) to unravel the mystery. 

Branagh is no novice when it comes to directing himself, but it must have been challenging with this film as his character is essentially in every scene.  His direction is both stylistic and, in some shots, minimalistic.   “Murder on the Orient Express” offers both sweeping vistas and intimate closeups. 

The all-star cast includes Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley and Josh Gad.

This film adaptation comes four decades after the 1974 version that also featured an all-star cast, ranging from Albert Finney as Poirot to Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery and Ingrid Bergman who earned an Academy Award for her performance.  While this Orient Express is unlikely to earn any Oscars, it is a cinematic journey worth taking.

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