Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel, and iconic 1974 remake.

Delaney Nordbrock

Courtesy of Sobrosnetwork
Not often does an old-fashioned murder mystery hit the box office anymore. This remake classic was based off Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel and film novelty from Sidney Lumet’s 1974 version.

Hercule Poirote, private detective and retired Belgian police officer, stumbles into the midst of a murder extravaganza. The cinematography was beautiful, and production definitely exceeded expectations with train on the stranded on the beautiful railroad bridge.  The detective works through a handful of false accusations and alibis to eventually pinpoint the gory crime.

Beautifully done production design. There are obviously technical advancements since the ‘74 version. The sound design was plenty convincing the cast was aboard the Orient.


In the’74 version, the camera movement seemed handheld-shaky, which simulated not only they’re aboard a train, but also the eeriness. It was, I suppose, the easiest way to convey this, corrected in the 2017 remake. No need for a barf bag anymore (though that version of course is still genius) The long take (of 2017) at the beginning while detective, Poirote, boarded the train is carried out swiftly. To a man with trained eyes in cinema- heavenly. The jackpot of casts was a hit. Johnny Depp, playing Ratchett, was a phenomenal actor as always- though he wasn’t in it for long.

A handful of flaws stuck out to me like a sore thumb unfortunately. The CGI was so apparent, in some scenes it was all I could gear my attention towards (in particular the scene with Belgian

investigator, Poirote, and Ratchett indulging in dessert). Not only that, but due to the genre being mystery, many of the characters were underdeveloped. What should’ve been main characters seemed to be a mumbo jumbo of names, background characters. It’s a tricky thing to showcase characters in this crime riddled movie whom are trying to be secretive. Of course, I got a general census with body language and appearance,

but nothing remotely close enough to get attached to. The true reveal of personality comes at the end. Due to this testing of patience, kids would have a snore.

Kenneth Branagh, playing the lead role of detective Poirote, added more of a heavier comedic touch than the ‘74 version (famous critic calling it hammy). This “hamminess” took away from what had the potential to be intense and emotional. This shown through with Kenneth Branagh’s directing. Not only did he direct, but he also starred as the lead, Poirote. The acting was brilliantly executed and should’ve been left at acting alone.

Branagh takes on famous detective who’s obsessed with fixing things because of OCD mannerisms. By the end of the movie this dynamic character chooses to overcome these ritualistic habits to save character(s) in the dramatic twist of events.

Overall, neither a hit or bust- ranking at 66% on rotten tomatoes. This enticing murder mystery will keep you entertained for an hour and fifty-four minutes. Hands down the 74 version trumps this year’s rendition of it, though still worthy of a watch.