Murder on the Orient Express
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Johnny Depp, Kenneth Branagh, Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Crime
Country of Origin: 2017 100 mins. (12A)
Released by 20th Century Fox
The Orient Express rolls out for a have a go again at Agatha Christie's 1934 classic whodunnit with Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh), the Belgian master detective with the moustache.
The train awaits the honoured guests - quick tempered Princess Dragominof (Judy Dench), devious art dealer Edward Ratchet (Johnny Depp with a moustache), American widow Mrs Hubbard (Michelle Pfeiffer), Hildegartd Schmidt (Olivia Colman), Princess Dragominoff's maid, Austrian academic Professor Gerhard Hardman (Willem Dafoe), governess Mary Debenham (Daisy Ridley), Pilar Estravedos (Penelope Cruz), Dr. Arbuthnot (Leslie Odom Jr), Ratchet's secretary Hector MacQueen (Josh Gad), businessman Miniamino Marquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), Russian dancer Count Andrenyi (Sergei Polunin) and his wife (Lucy Boynton). A passenger is murdered on the luxury Istanbul to Calais express. Step forward Hercule Poirot, moustache of the year, no time to relax, the case is yours.
A few moves to update the period piece, including Dr Arbuthnot as a black doctor, screen writer Michael Green's idea of popping in a Jerusalem set antiquities theft for the master detective to solve, the train on a viaduct with a snow capped mountain backdrop courtesy of CGI, shooting on 65mm Panavision with close ups galore and a stellar cast who are mainly sideline props offering smiles or glares at the camera doesn't hit that imaginative, inventive button. Only Johnny Depp has a real part, plus Kenneth Branagh's Poirot with his OTT moustache. If only Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau had popped up as the surprise passenger it wouldn't have been a second class journey that trundles onto Hercule Poirot's tell all at the end.