Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
Want more? Listen to our discussion of 'Murder On The Orient Express' on SWITCHCast
We look at 'Fantasia' in a brand new episode of Ink & Paint - and don't forget to subscribe to our podcast!x
review, Murder on the Orient Express, Murder, on, the, Orient, Express, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Derek Jacobi, Josh Gad, Penélope Cruz, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Olivia Colman, Willem Dafoe, Kenneth Branagh, Crime, Drama, Mystery film rating




By Jess Fenton
6th November 2017

For a novel that’s been around since 1934, had seven incarnations in film, television, radio and even a computer game, and is simply a literary work of such notoriety, I must admit this 2017 film is my very first encounter not only with ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ but with Ms Agatha Christie herself - and I must admit, my interest is piqued.

For those, like myself, not familiar with the story... Belgian Hercule Poirot is the greatest and most famous detective in the world. While traveling from Istanbul to London on board the Orient Express, a first-class passenger is murdered. As a favour to his friend Mr Bouc, the director of the Orient Express, Poirot agrees to investigate the case. One by one, Poirot questions the first-class passengers to find the motive and culprit of this gruesome crime. But there are more questions than answers, so unlike Poirot’s perfectly even and monstrous moustache - and the scales of justice - not everything can end up fair and balanced.


Kenneth Branagh pulls triple duty here as director, star and puppeteer for that moustache. Just kidding - but seriously, have you seen that thing? It’s magnificent. While Branagh is the first Poirot to go to this magnitude for the facial affectation, it is in itself a gag in the film - although only for one scene - which does beg the question: why to this scale?

So the moustache is the first thing you notice; the second is the cast. It’s glorious. It’s beautiful. It’s charismatic. It’s too big. It’s too grand. No one gets enough play. What a waste. It takes half the film before Willem Dafoe even gets a line. Nobody puts Dame Judi Dench in a corner! Damn, Michelle Pfeiffer looks goooood for 59. Where was I going with this? Ah yes, it’s all too much. To fill that small a train with that much talent and give them almost nothing to do and nowhere to go is in itself a crime. Make no mistake, Poirot is the star of this show. He gets the best lines, the most action and is the most engaging character - he carries the film. Everyone else (literally) sits around, waiting to be called.

Make no mistake Poirot is the star of this show... Everyone else (literally) sits around, waiting to be called.

This is a murder mystery and it’s a good one at that, with a great ending. However, I can only assume it’s handled better in the novel because the centrepiece of information for this crime seems to be plucked out of thin air for the story to work, and once everything becomes hitched to this idea with its baffling origin, it’s hard to stay engaged.

The film starts out great, with some winks, nods and gags to get the audience on board, but that soon falls off and we’re left with the confined mystery that lies too much off camera. When it comes to murder mysteries audiences like to play along, but here we’re forced to the sidelines to merely watch. While Poirot is far more charming and affable than a Sherlock Holmes, at least Holmes inspires awe with his dizzying intellect while Branagh’s Poirot simply gets a “Wow, you’re great detective.”

With a magnificent cast (with little to do) in a very sharp-looking film (they just needed to perfect those obviously green screen exterior shots), Kenneth Branagh has taken a stab (get it!?) at Agatha Christie and can walk away happy. It’s a decent attempt that he may just get away with.

RELEASE DATE: 09/11/2017
RUN TIME: 1h 54m
CAST: Kenneth Branagh
Michelle Pfeiffer
Judi Dench
Johnny Depp
Derek Jacobi
Josh Gad
Penélope Cruz
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo
Olivia Colman
Willem Dafoe
DIRECTOR: Kenneth Branagh
WRITER: Michael Green
PRODUCERS: Ridley Scott
Kenneth Branagh
Mark Gordon
Judy Hofflund
Simon Kinberg
Michael Schaefer
Aditya Sood
SCORE: Patrick Doyle
Want more? Listen to our discussion of 'Murder On The Orient Express' on SWITCHCast 
xXx: Return Of Xander Cage - The good, the bad and the ugly
TRENDINGxXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGEThe good, the bad and the ugly
Agatha Christie’s Marple: Series 1-3 - The classic crime novels come to life
TRENDINGWIN AGATHA CHRISTIE’S MARPLE: SERIES 1-3The classic crime novels come to life
Romantic Road - Falling in love with India, the Rolls Royce and each other
TRENDINGROMANTIC ROADFalling in love with India, the Rolls Royce and each other
God of the Piano - A tale that tickles the ivories
TRENDINGGOD OF THE PIANOA tale that tickles the ivories
Good Girls: Season 2 - It's never been so good to be bad
TRENDINGWIN GOOD GIRLS: SEASON 2It's never been so good to be bad
Leaving Allen Street - Following residents out of institutional care and into our hearts
TRENDINGLEAVING ALLEN STREETFollowing residents out of institutional care and into our hearts
The Personal History of David Copperfield - Charles Dickens' classic reimagined through a comedic lens
TRENDINGWIN THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELDCharles Dickens' classic reimagined through a comedic lens
Over the Limit - A real-life psychological thriller
TRENDINGOVER THE LIMITA real-life psychological thriller
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
About A Boy - All grown up 15 years on
TRENDINGABOUT A BOYAll grown up 15 years on
Endings, Beginnings - Star-studded sex drama lacks substance
TRENDINGENDINGS, BEGINNINGSStar-studded sex drama lacks substance
In My Blood It Runs - An eye-opening tale of struggling Indigenous youth
TRENDINGIN MY BLOOD IT RUNSAn eye-opening tale of struggling Indigenous youth
River's Edge - The kids aren't alright
TRENDINGRIVER'S EDGEThe kids aren't alright
The Boys Who Said No! - Powering change through non-violence
TRENDINGTHE BOYS WHO SAID NO!Powering change through non-violence
Melbourne Documentary Film Festival 2020 - The reviews
Tumbbad - Visually rich Hindi horror
TRENDINGTUMBBADVisually rich Hindi horror
Beyond The River - An inspirational sporting journey
TRENDINGBEYOND THE RIVERAn inspirational sporting journey
Basic Instinct - 25 years of the erotic thriller
TRENDINGBASIC INSTINCT25 years of the erotic thriller
The Big Trip - Should have stayed at home
TRENDINGTHE BIG TRIPShould have stayed at home
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective 25th anniversary - 1994: the year of Jim Carrey
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us