Murder, mystery, and intrigue are afoot this weekend at the box office with the release of Kenneth Branagh's Murder On the Orient Express. Branagh's leading the helm of this Agatha Christie classic with a star-studded cast including Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Penelope Cruz, Daisy Ridley and of course, Kenneth Branagh himself talking on the role of our master detective Hercule Poirot. For those of you who may not know the film follows Poirot who is at the time possibly the world's greatest detective. When he is summoned to another case he ends up, by chance, on the Orient Express which despite being a time where he wishes to relax, turns into one of the most complex cases of his career when a murder happens on the train while it is stuck in the snow and he is forced to figure out which of the passengers aboard are responsible.
The film had me excited to see it from the first trailer drop. Everything about this movie looked to be setting itself up to be this holiday's seasons first real good murder mystery. A classic story, a wonderful cast, and hey they even got Imagine Dragons to let them use their song for the trailer! I was pumped, but sadly after seeing the film despite enjoying the movie it definitely fell short of the bar I had set for it. Now I need to say upfront this is not a bad film, but it isn't one of the greatest either. There are parts of the movie that just drag on for what seems like forever. This is one of the issues I tend to encounter regularly with Branagh's films. It always feels, to me anyway, that he is trying way too hard to make something profound. This movie has some funny bits that help lighten the mood (not sure if Poirot's mustache is supposed to always be one of them, but hell, it is.). Many elements of this film feel like I am watching a slightly more serious version of the movie Clue without all of its charms. The cast does a good job with respective roles, but there was just something that didn't quite put this one over the top for me. At times the script felt clunky, the flow of the story was constantly changing from throwing you right into everything to quickly screeching to a halt, plus there are so many suspects and intricate webs here with the actual crime that you have a hard time keeping up with whose who in the grand scheme of things (can I get a flow chart?). I feel like this film would have been better suited in the hands of possibly a different director. While the film itself looked great and had a nice classic feel to it (outside of the fact that it is a period movie) I just think someone different could have done a better job bringing some life into parts of this film that desperately needed it.
Overall, I am really on the fence about this one. We scored it with a B- because while overall it was entertaining to watch, it was definitely not the best thing I have seen from this genre. However if murder and mystery are what you need from the box office this weekend, who knows, you may enjoy checking it out. To each their own. We would definitely love to hear what you guys think in the comments below.
Murder On The Orient Express hits theaters everywhere November 10th.