I don’t know about you, but when an Agatha Christie murder mystery novel that takes place in an older period comes to mind, the first thing I think about is Imagine Dragons.
Man, did I dislike that trailer.
Anyway, I wasn’t expecting much from this movie, and my expectations were completely met. Murder on the Orient Express is a fun, competent murder mystery, but not much else.
Most of its elements are fine. The camera work, the soundtrack, the tone, the dialogue, all of it is good. There is not a single moment where it is ever better than good, but at the very least, it was never awful either.
The cast for this movie is as expansive as it is talented, but no one ever pulls off a marvelous performance. What’s even worse is that the cast list includes the likes of Willem Dafoe and Judi Dench. How in the world could you cast people like that and not give them amazing things to do?
The only person that ever sticks out is the detective, Hercule Poirot (played by Kenneth Branagh). He’s “the greatest detective in the world”, and he’s able to deduce things by mere observation. So he’s like Sherlock Holmes… and like a dozen other detective types in a dozen other movies that one could think of. Yes, I know Agatha Christie wrote this novel before these movies were made, but this movie came out in 2017, so to have a super smart detective character is a bit of an overused trope at this point.
With that said, Branagh does have some successful line delivery, and he made me chuckle multiple times with his wit, but the dialogue is hardly ever special enough to make Hercule Poirot stand out as an amazing character.
What’s even worse is that the murder mystery is extremely convoluted to the point that Poirot is constantly getting tripped up. Now, there’s a reason in the movie for why this happens, but it still unintentionally tripped up the story as well.
There’s only a couple of complaints I have about the movie. There are one or two scenes that are extremely obvious that a green screen was used, and it was somewhat distracting. There was also one or two pieces of dialogue that I thought were a bit heavy-handed.
There’s nothing that the movie gets horribly wrong, though. Likewise, there’s nothing that it does extraordinarily. I enjoyed the murder mystery even though it was somewhat hard to follow, and I enjoyed all the characters in the movie despite the fact that I am going to forget about all of them in about a week or two.
It is a fun, safe family movie, so you can’t go wrong with it if you want a tame movie to see. But if you’re looking for a film that’s going to blow you away, Murder on the Orient Express is not going to be your movie.