Murder on the Orient Express
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley
The Orient Express, en route from Istanbul to London, gets stuck in snow just as one of the passengers, a shady conman named Ratchett, is found stabbed to death. Thankfully Hercule Poirot, the greatest detective in the world, is onboard. Kenneth Branagh’s pointless and lifeless murder mystery is the fourth adaptation of Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel or, if you will, a remake of Sidney Lumet’s 1974 version. The train appears to carry only a dozen passengers, all of whom are under suspicion. Branagh has assembled an impressive ensemble cast to play these people, but he takes the centre stage himself with his enormous moustache and the murder suspects are each left with a 30-second character description and a few lines of dialogue. This Christie story is famous for its unexpected ending, but do not stop and think about it or you discover that the entire mystery is contrived and implausible. Cinematography, sets, and costumes are very good, though.