Murder on the Orient Express

When he is needed for a case in London, Detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) boards the Orient Express train to begin his journey. Riding in a first class car, he is surrounded by many well-to-do passengers. Sometime during the night, Edward Ratchett (Johnny Depp) is murdered.

An avalanche forces the train to stop. While waiting for the train to start again, Poirot begins his investigation. Among the suspects are Pilar Estravados (Penelope Cruz), Gerhard Hartman (Willem Dafoe), Princess Dragomiroff (Judy Dench), Hector MacQueen (Josh Gad), Edward Masterman (Derek Jacobi), Dr. Arbuthnot (Leslie Odom Jr.), Caroline Hubbard (Michelle Pfeiffer), Mary Debenham (Daisy Ridley), Pierre Michel (Marwan Kenzari), Countess Elena Andrenyi (Lucy Boynton), Count Rudolph Andrenyi (Sergei Polunin), and Biniamino Marquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo). All are staying in the same car and each of them has their own motive for killing Ratchett.

Poirot must find the killer before they can strike again.

Based on the novel by Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express is a winding, twisting tale where everyone is a suspect.

There is so much happening in this story, it can be hard to keep track. There are flashbacks to a case from years ago involving a man named Cassetti that become relevant to the story. Adding to this is the fact that there are so many characters, each with their own story, yet some of them intertwine. If you lose track for a minute, things can get confusing.

The acting is well done by the entire cast. My issues with the film are not in any way linked to the cast. Sure, there are the convenient discoveries by Kenneth Branash’s Poirot. Those are typical of any story involving a highly skilled detective. The motives of the characters, while not always what they first appear, can be a stretch at times. The cast does the best they can with what they are given.

While the cinematography and acting are well done, there are too many characters to keep track of and the story is just too meandering and trying to cram too much into tight spaces. It makes the movie just a little too difficult to follow. I would say wait for the rental if you are going to see Murder on the Orient Express. If you decide to skip it all together, you won’t be kicking yourself wishing you had seen it.

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