A lavish trip through Europe quickly unfolds into a race against time to solve a murder aboard a train. When an avalanche stops the Orient Express dead in its tracks, the world's greatest detective -- Hercule Poirot -- arrives to interrogate all passengers and search for clues before the killer can strike again.
The name Agatha Christie is synonymous with murder mysteries, over forty years after her death her books are still being made into TV series, movies and single episodes (like Doctor Who) and I imagine they will for many more years to come.
I had wanted to see this last year when it came out in the theatres but didn't manage to, so DVD was the next best thing. I have seen small moments of David Suchet as Poirot but not enough to have any expectations of the character before turning this on. I was familiar with the original story and knew how it ended, so I was interested to see if the film would follow the book or give us a new ending. Book to film, there are some character changes and the ending is just a tad different but I'm keeping my lips zipped because I don't want to give away any spoilers.
The bulk of this movie takes place on a train and it wouldn't have been feasible to shoot on a train out and about, so a lot of green screen was used but this wasn't obvious which is great, the scenery looked real and it all flowed well. Everything felt authentic about the costumes and set, however there was one moment near the beginning where a character used a form of karate that wasn't authentic to the time period, but it is a minor detail that would escape most people.
When it comes to casting, they all did a good job, there were plenty of familiar faces but all are good enough actors that not once did I find myself thinking about their other roles. Branagh did a wonderful job as Poirot, I thoroughly enjoyed his portrayal of the character and my mother, who has seen other renditions of the character, also thoroughly enjoyed Branagh's version, with both of us agreeing we'd like to see more of this particular version.
The plot was slow and gradual, there wasn't any rush and there wasn't any addition of unnecessary plot points or information or action. We are given enough information along the way that leaves us questioning everyone and their motives as well as whodunnit. As I said earlier, this follows pretty closely to the original, so if you know the ending then you know where this is most likely headed, that being said, there are enough differences that the overall vibe stays the same but you're still left wondering just how on point the conclusion will be.
The movie ends with Poirot being called away on another case (again, one of Christie's novels, but a different intro) and Google informs me that they are going to film Death on the Nile, woohoo.
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882)