11.13.2017

HUB REVIEW: Murder On The Orient Express

HUB REVIEW:  Murder On The Orient Express

By Michael P Coleman

As the lights dimmed in the theatre Friday night, I realized that it’s rare that I get to experience a film adaptation that’s been rendered multiple times.  Nor had I read the source material for Murder On The Orient Express, Agatha Christie’s classic 1934 novel.  The former was corrected Friday night, and I’ll be correcting the latter during the holidays.  I loved every second of this new movie.    

Well, maybe not every second.  I can be a bit impatient at the cineplex, wringing my hands as I wait for things to kick in.  Director Kenneth Branagh spent 15 or 20 minutes on bothersome necessities like character development and plot exposition — but it seemed like hours to me.

As there’s a spoiler in the very title of this movie, I knew someone was going to bite the dust — and I needed him or her to do so quickly.  But once the narrative train got rolling, I was strapped in and was off with the rest of the packed theater.  And our patience was rewarded with a thrilling cinematic ride. 

Branagh also appears in Murder, playing the story’s lead character, master detective Hercule Poirot. With a name like Branagh’s, it feels odd not to say he “starred” in the movie, but in this case,, you can’t.  The thriller is packed with A-listers like Willem Dafoe, Dame Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, and Michelle Pfeiffer, and all give stellar performances. 

Another of Murder’s joys is its craftsmanship.  It’s a big budget feature in the truest sense, with immersive sets and lavish costumes, along with striking CGI and location shots.  It was great to see that Hollywood still knows how to make an action movie in which no one wears a cape, has a secret identify, or battles an alien invasion. 

The story can perhaps best be described as a classic “whodunnit,” sort of a cinematic Clue, that classic board game that calls for players to be the first to figure out the “who,” “where,” and “with what” of a predetermined murder.  Well, like I was during many of my childhood Clue games, I was foiled!  I thought I’d sorted the whole story out fairly early in the movie, but this flick threw me for a total, complete loop.

I REALLY want to tell you how the movie ends!  But I wouldn’t deprive you of the escapist two hour romp that Murder On The Orient Express delivers.  Take it from me, Agatha Christie’s newest fan: this new Murder is worth a trip — by train or otherwise — to the movie theatre. 

Murder On The Orient Express is at theaters everywhere. 

 

 Sacramento-based freelancer Michael P Coleman can say whatever he wants about capes.  He knows he’s dying to see Justice League later this week!  Connect with him at michaelpcoleman.com or on Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP.