Movie Review: Murder on the Orient Express Is Missing Something and It's Not the Star-Studded Cast
Updated: Aug 6, 2018
Murder on the Orient Express opens splendidly. Within the first few minutes of the movie, we’re afforded a luscious view of Jerusalem, where our hero and famed detective, Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh), effortlessly solves a sticky matter to do with theft. And he does so with what seems like a simple glance.
Of course, the amazement that follows suit is expected, and Hercule claims that his ability to solve cases so easily has to do with his need for perfection; his attention to detail allows him to pinpoint the root cause for “imperfection”.
Despite his stellar talent and in turn, career, Hercule wishes to rest. And thus, his journey aboard the Orient Express, which he was invited to ride by his friend and director of the train, Bouc, begins.
As far as praises go, there are many to go around for this film.
It is as elegant as it appears in the trailers. It is breathtakingly beautiful, with the gorgeous architecture, backdrops, artfully angled shots and finely tailored costumes making themselves perfectly at home in this setting; there is simply no denying any of these. It is also blessed with a star-studded cast that certainly knows how to deliver their lines with an appropriate toss of their hair or flick of their wrist.
But herein lies the problem: despite having such pleasing aesthetics, Murder on the Orient Express failed to utilise them to their full potential.
This is especially true when one thinks of the cast. Murder on the Orient Express has been graced with the likes of Johnny Depp, Judi Dench and Penelope Cruz, yet the appearances their characters make in the film can be likened to cameos.
Yes, it is absolutely understandable for certain characters to fall through the cracks when there is a large cast and limited time on film, but when all but one makes a solid appearance, it looks odd at best.
Perhaps it is simply the classic whodunnit formula that this film is based on, but that is Murder on the Orient Express in a nutshell: a film that is solely focused on the detective himself.
At least that is what I took away from the film. It is not by any means a terrible production, because it does give your brain a bit of an exercise by making you puzzle over the identity of the killer, but it does ring hollow. All aesthetics, and lack of emotional attachment and depth do not equal a fulfilling movie experience.
That is just one person’s opinion, however. What do you think of the movie? Do you like it or do you not? Leave your thoughts in the Comment section below!
Written by Crunch's Melissa Kartini