The recent debut of the fourth rendition of the classic Agatha Christie novel “Murder on the Orient Express” wobbles off the tracks after a classic “whodunit” turns into a rambling set of interrogations that leave you struggling to keep your eyes open. Next stop, Dullsville.
Although the movie starts out well with a witty introduction to the main character, Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) — in which he solves a case involving three spiritual leaders — it quickly takes a turn for the worse once Poirot boards the Luxurious Orient Express en route to London. Despite the beginning of the journey being tedious and slow, one can’t help but notice the stunning shots of the snow-covered mountains captured by director Kenneth Branagh, who also plays the mustachioed main character.
Along with Poirot, one is introduced to the rest of the exceptional cast during the first leg of the journey before disaster strikes. Cast members such as Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, and Willem Dafoe star in the movie, along with some new faces, such as Leslie Odom Jr. who recently left Broadway after playing Aaron Burr in the hit musical “Hamilton.” With such a talented cast and ageless plot, one might be left wondering, “What could go wrong?” But sadly, the botched film has left audiences confused and dissatisfied rather than astonished and contented.
After a cast introduction, the movie kicks off as the Orient Express is suddenly derailed, and chaos consumes the passengers. Not long after the incident, it is discovered that fellow passenger and businessman, Samuel Ratchett (Johnny Depp) has been murdered. Luckily, Poirot, who is labeled as “the best detective in the world,” agrees to conduct an investigation, and thus the audience is launched into a relentless cycle of dull conversation between Poirot and his fellow passengers, none of whom are particularly interesting in the first place. The combination of the painfully boring interviews and the struggle to decipher Poirot’s speech through his thick French accent gives the movie an element of boredom and repetition.
On top of the drab, back-and-forth conversations, the overwhelmingly large amount of clues and connections uncovered made the movie hard to follow, and many audience members find themselves so wrapped up in keeping up with specific details, they miss the overarching story altogether.
Overall, this modernized homage to Christie’s murder mystery novel proved to be a dull flick that does not live up to its intense and grabbing trailer. The only relief from the bad pacing of the movie was the brilliant cinematography performed by Haris Zambarloukos and Branagh. It’s disappointing to see a movie with such potential become such a trainwreck.
Rating: 2/5 Torches