Murder on The Orient Express
As winter is starting to set in slowly in Calcutta, the weather is becoming cool and really enjoyable, with new movies to watch and books to read, and when it comes to mystery story writer Agatha Christie and her classic novel Murder on The Orient Express, remade by the 20th Century Fox and released this Friday the 24th, it will be imperative that I will be up on my toes to catch this one without any doubt in my mind. Yes, I was really waiting for this remake of this classic novel featuring the very popular sleuth Hercule Poirot, brought to life by Agatha Christie. Those who are already familiar with the mystery story writing of the classic Agatha Christie, will know for sure what I am talking about. So, this is my take on the new dramatized version of this most popular story from the author, as we will try to look at how this movie fares.
Murder on The Orient Express, the movie 2017
At the very first, I would like to say for those who are planning to watch the movie, just go ahead and watch it. Never mind the reviews you are gonna read or have read already. Trust me, reviews have their own agenda, some good, some overly critical, some so so, but like always you are your best critic, that’s why you need to decide by watching it yourself. And that is exactly true for me as I can tell you after watching this movie today afternoon, I thoroughly enjoyed it, every bit of it. And I honestly don’t understand those critical reviews almost dissecting every bit of the movie to convey all negative things about various aspects of the movie. Instead, I think the stellar cast and director producer and the team has done a pretty good job in presenting a period drama of the early ’30s to the modern day viewers, which can be a pretty daunting task. So, please do go ahead and watch the movie.
The Story in a Gist
Every detective story has a sinister background, haunting, dark, somewhere disturbing. And same is our story here of the sinister events unfurling in the mystery of the Orient Express. Just imagine yourself travelling on a long distance train journey through distant remote lands, where among your fellow passengers resides the perpetrator of a gruesome murder taking place on the train, and by chance the famous detective Hercule Poirot travelling on the same train gets forcefully drawn in to solve the mystery. It can’t get more sinister than this. And this is the basic premise of this classic story by Agatha Christie.
It is a Kenneth Branagh show altogether as he plays the crucial character of Detective Poirot as well as Director of the movie. He is tough, young, fit and agile and means business, yet being courteous and perfection hungry with his cute French accent. He plays the character well and keeps his audience hooked till the end. Even if the entire story takes place inside the train, with much no scope of outdoor activities, yet Branagh succeeds in giving a tight whodunit chase in these very grim settings. The main difficulty in doing a period movie is to maintain the authenticity of the time and settings when the story was actually told and presenting it in a realistic way to the audience of today’s world. The film succeeds in all fronts, with it’s gorgeous visuals, breathtaking cinematography, haunting score and very tight performances from the stellar cast, Kenneth Branagh including.
The villain and the victim
In the world of crime, sometimes it becomes difficult to distinguish between the villain and the victim. Even though law is equal for everyone and every crime is a crime, yet sometimes the judgement takes precedence in understanding the circumstances and motive behind the crime committed. And that’s what is the premise of this Agatha Christie classic. Johny Depp and Michelle Pfieffer, both veteran and talented artists, and both played the role of villain and the victim, and they played their part to perfection. Pfeiffer as Mrs. Hubbard, the grieving grandmother to the slain granddaughter, carries out the perfect crime as revenge, and revealing the same at the end to perfection, when she knows that Poirot has cracked the case.
Finally, the book and the movie
Those who are already Agatha Christie fans, know the she wanted to create Hercule Poirot as exactly the opposite of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Poirot was short, chubby, with a funny moustache, and a definite eccentric yet cute way about him, as he always announced himself as the world’s greatest detective. Among many hit books by Christie in her Poirot series, Murder on The Orient Express has been the most popular with several screen adaptations done throughout the years.
And this new one by Kenneth Branagh will definitely bring the old world charm of master crime story telling to the big screens to the present generation with style and panache, yet maintaining the original theme to the best extent possible.
I have read Agatha Christie novels in school and many time since then, but had not seen the earlier screen adaptations. That’s why this movie evoked tremendous excitement for me as well as for many more of much senior crowd who were present in the movie hall in greater numbers.
It was also heartening the way the mystery of the Nile river was mentioned in the last few frames by the policeman to Poirot at the station, which gave us the indication of a possible future movie venture for another of Christie’s classic Death on the Nile. And that will be something worth waiting for.