Star-powered in its seasoned cast, stylishly cinematographed, & steam-building as it progresses, but jumbled, overcrowded, & with a slow start and flat ending. 4/10.
The Orient Express: 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.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
Pros: Absolutely gorgeous cinematography with multiple audible-wow-inducing shots that mimic the script too in its balance in relation to Hercules’ penchant for order and uniformity as set hilariously and awesomely in the opening detective scene, polished and refined acting overall with a ridiculously star-powered cast: Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Josh Gad, Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, and more (until the ending), good score creating a serviceable ambience of mystery – not the most powerful score but serves its purpose, great set pieces and costume design with period authenticity and a delightful old-fashioned-ness, Branagh’s performance and direction with increasing tension and shocking story turns as the film starts slow but gets progressively more exciting and investing as time goes on, bunch of misdirects and classic detective story turns, old-fashioned feel and incredible build-up of evidence, reveal definitely unexpected and has shock value – even though leaving a bit to be desired as I explain later
Cons: Really slow start until it gets to the nitty gritty and why the viewer came, the sheer number of star cast-members and characters trying to be juggled narratively and on screen makes for a classic dilemma in that none feel fully realized and instead feel a bit undercooked – makes it even worse the caliber of actors involved who frankly make you question why they came to be featured as really a cameo, about 20 min too long, ending was underwhelming to me – acting and execution strangely feels lazy in the reveal and the best part of a murder mystery in my view is it being a singular or *SPOILER* not too many guilty parties you can call (feels a little like a narrative cop-out and it’s not the film’s fault if it’s indeed the source material’s ending and maybe it would be brilliant if properly executed in the big reveal but still: gah)
Overall Rating: 4/10