Film (Re)View – Murder on the Orient Express

As I have never seen the original or read the book, I went on this journey with an open mind. I had heard the comments about Branagh vs Suchet and ‘that moustache’, but I didn’t let any of it sway me as I sat down for my first trip on the Orient Express.

First off, and I feel I should get this out of the way, I like his moustache – very touchable and, apparently, it is closer to the book version(?). I did have a chuckle at the device he wears at night to keep it in place too!

This is a very charming film, from the point of view of the settings, the direction and the sweeping and artistic cinematography. You can’t help but be swept up and come to the conclusion that no expense was spared in making this movie – just in case you haven’t guessed that from the cast list.

Each actor plays his/her role to perfection. You have to remember the time that this story was written as well as when it was set, yet, despite this, I didn’t wince or feel any of them were hamming it up. I did feel the make up artists were a tad heavy handed with the old foundation though……trowelling it on springs to mind!

This is a typical Christie whodunit, with red herrings, twists and turns and a detective who is so brilliant, he is able to solve the crime without that much investigation, because of his natural ability to read people.

Is Poirot a believable character? Probably not, because no matter how brilliant a mind, there is a limit to what it can solve on its own. However, he doesn’t stand alone. Believable or not, Poirot is a thoroughly charming, engaging and witty character and, from this point of view, you are willing to suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the show.

I always saw Agatha Christie’s stories as complex with regards to the weaving of the clues, but this story seemed more straight-forward and the perp more apparent. Maybe it’s that I’ve watched/read enough murders now to know what I’m looking for, or maybe it’s just that seeing the wounds on the body tends to point you towards certain conclusions.

SPOILER ALERT

I do need to get something off my chest thought about this film so I am issuing a huge SPOILER ALERT now so, if you don’t know the story, stop reading for the rest of this paragraph. What spoilt this movie for me, was the scene where the murderer is revealed. There is no way you can fit 10+ people in one of those compartments, especially 10+ people who are ‘frantically moving about’, shall we say. Also, there is no way Porot would not have heard them. On exit they all banged the door, amongst other noises. Poirot, as is demonstrated in the film, is an extremely light sleeper. Yes, he does hear some noise from Ratchett’s compartment, but he would have heard more and would not have taken the response of ‘Rien’ (nothing) so easily, especially as Ratchett doesn’t speak French.

SPOILER OVER

All this being said, this is a thoroughly enjoyable movie and I am looking forward to the next instalment – Murder on the Nile.

 

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