Now as someone that was forced by my mum to watch countless episodes of David Suchet’s adaptation of “Agatha Christie’s Poirot”, I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a soft spot for the Belgian detective.
Although director and star Kenneth Branagh’s moustache did not look quite as classy, that cannot be said for the rest of “Murder on the Orient Express”. With stars such as Johnny Depp, Judi Dench and Penelope Cruz looking as elegant as ever, the film can’t be knocked for its ambition.
Like with everything else in the world, however, you can have too much of a good thing. Where one was expecting a thrilling tale from start to finish full of A-list acting from A-list actors, instead it seemed as if the real mystery was how to retell a well-known story from 1934 to a contemporary audience.
The mise-en-scene of the film was well thought out, specific and meticulous as it played on the stunning snowy scenery and establishing shots, that left the majority of the audience wide-eyed and satisfied. However, with its glamorous cast seemingly under-used and given little chance to show off, it left me wondering whether Dame Judi Dench really should have been in this film having very little to do. This, along with Johnny Depp playing a stereotypical gangster-type character who is killed off leaves me wondering whether this is a good film, or a bad film hiding behind its panache.
Whilst all you movie experts out there might be pleased to know it was shot on 65mm film, allowing for richer colour, scope and scale; along with the Steadicam sequences being created manually rather than digitally, these just seem like the cherries on top of a stale cake.
Branagh wanted to reinvent this story as a modern one whilst retaining its prestige, which just resulted in an inconsistent style throughout the film and characters with little individualism.
Michelle Pfeiffer stole the show as Mrs Hubbard however, with her gritty acting and passion for the role in an otherwise disappointing movie that had great expectations to live up to.
Whilst this film isn’t a complete disaster, it is worth a watch, just maybe not at the cinema. Saving it for a rainy Sunday afternoon may be a better idea. Failing that, there’s always David Suchet.