Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

It’s time for another movie review presented by our good friends over at FatCats Gilbert on the southwest corner of Greenfield and Baseline! FatCats Gilbert is the best place to see all of the latest box office hits like Murder on the Orient Express! To see all showtimes and to purchase tickets, you can click right HERE!

Murder on the Orient Express is one that I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. On top of the incredible cast, I think that Kenneth Branagh is one of the best in his field today. As an actor-director, I think his style typically works really well with his storytelling, and his acting is always a positive. Also, as I mentioned, the cast is loaded. With Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe, Josh Gad, Judi Dench, Penélope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley in her first role since The Force Awakens, I couldn’t wait to see all of these big names in a Branagh-led whodunit. Let’s talk about the movie!

Murder on the Orient Express is directed by Kenneth Branagh who also takes the lead role as Hercule Poirot, the man who is probably the greatest detective on the planet. When he boards his friend’s train, the Orient Express, he meets plenty of new faces. Not long into his trip, one of the passengers is murdered, and Poirot is called upon to find out who the killer is.

By far the best part of this movie is Kenneth Branagh, both as an actor and as a director. His character is easily the most interesting, and Poirot is probably the only reason that this movie works as a whole. Branagh totally gets this character, and the movie puts you right inside Poirot’s mind, and he’s so well-realized. I understand exactly how he thinks and why he’s the greatest detective of all-time, but I also get why this case in particular bends his way of thinking and gives him a difficult time. The more you learn about him, the more you get why he’s unable to instantly put all of the pieces together, and it definitely muddles his ideology and gives him a great character arc. Branagh’s performance is also great. When I saw the trailer and heard the Imagine Dragons to a story set in the ‘30s with the last line being “I’m probably the greatest detective in the world,” I was a little bit afraid of how consistent the tone would be, but it actually remains relatively consistent and it never goes outside a believable realm. Branagh perfectly meshes the combination of seriousness and levity that comes with a character like Poirot, and the way he delivers his snappy dialogue kept me entertained every time he was on-screen. The film also looks beautiful. On top of the visuals and creative camerawork and camera tricks from Branagh, the production design is amazing, and I bought the idea that the story was set in the ‘30s. The rest of the performances are also great, and I was genuinely curious as to how Poirot was going to find out who the killer was. The film never reveals anything. It uses clever tricks to keep you guessing without ever being completely sure what happened until it wants you to understand who the killer is. Murder on the Orient Express isn’t a movie that you’ll walk out of saying that you knew who the killer was right away, and I love that.

I will say that the reason I was invested in the film was because of Poirot and only Poirot. The film came to a complete stop when any other characters were on-screen, and once it broke into the second act, I lost interest in the story. All of the secondary characters felt very flat and very one-dimensional, so when they’re getting their screen-time to explain their sides of the story, I didn’t care whatsoever. I think that the movie recovers enough from that dip to still be a watchable, entertaining movie, but other than Poirot, I had a very difficult time investing myself in the twists and turns when it came to finding out who the killer was. I was interested in how Poirot would find the killer, but I didn’t care which character it would be. I also found the ending a little bit unsatisfying. I won’t say much about it to refrain from spoilers, but the movie left me feeling cold.

Overall, Murder on the Orient Express is an entertaining enough movie to check out, but only because of Kenneth Branagh. When I say that it’s “entertaining,” I don’t want to make you think that it’s just a popcorn flick because it definitely has some depth, and the character of Poirot is explored extremely thoroughly, but at the end of the day I was definitely more entertained than I was invested. Branagh nails this character and all of his quirks, and he understands this style of storytelling. The movie looks great, and I was wondering how Poirot would get to the bottom of this case and catch the killer. I appreciate that it never reveals much until the end, and it never leaves a trail, so we’re just as confused as Poirot. We also understand why Poirot is confused because this case completely goes against his ideology and way of thinking. I do think that Point was the only interesting character in the film, and for that reason it took a major dip right after the first act that it struggled to climb out of since it was no longer solely about Poirot, but Murder on the Orient Express can probably be enjoyed if you’ve already seen Thor: Ragnarok. I’m going to give it a 6/10.

Will you be seeing Murder on the Orient Express? Comment down in the comment section and let me know! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

About Justin Lyons

Hey, it’s Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at [email protected]