Movie Review: Murder on the Orient Express

I was just barely able to catch Murder on the Orient Express before it left theaters—the 2017 version, directed by Kenneth Branagh (starring Kenneth Branagh, with Kenneth Branagh co-producing). I had read the book earlier this year, even before I heard there was going to be a new adaptation, and so that meant I already knew the answer. To be honest, I mostly went to see “Aaron Burr”.

And…well. I definitely enjoyed it, although the main character’s mustache is ridiculous to the point of distraction. But I’m not sure there was actually enough information presented for a viewer to really crack the case themselves, and that’s something that’s at least theoretically possible in the novel (though very difficult). I feel like that’s supposed to be an intrinsic part of putting on a mystery, that the audience should at least be forming theories even if they don’t end up anywhere near the truth. It’s just really hard to do that when you have to rush around through twelve suspects.

Since I already knew the answer, though, I got to just sit back and watch, and while they didn’t do all the characters the way I pictured, they still did a pretty good job. I enjoyed the dialogue, the cinematography and the scenery, and even Poirot’s quirks (something that’s hit-or-miss for me). I do think there were a few things that were needlessly amped up from what I remember in the books, such as Poirot’s views of good vs. evil.

So, would I recommend this? If you already know the answer (by reading the book or by seeing a previous adaptation), you’d probably enjoy this, but there’s a chance you’d be upset by some of the changes. If you don’t know the answer and you’re a mystery enthusiast, I’d say you should read the book instead, so that you have a chance to form theories before the answer is revealed—both because you get better information, and because you can stop reading so you have time to think. But if you don’t know the answer and don’t care about trying to solve it yourself…

…then you might actually be disappointed, because this isn’t one of my favorite mysteries (not that I’ve read/seen that many yet, other than TV shows like NCIS and Castle). I’d recommend And Then There Were None and The Mousetrap (if you can see it) instead. It is still pretty, though, and it has Odom / Aaron Burr and Kenneth Branagh With A Ridiculous Mustache.

(That said, if you’re boycotting things with Johnny Depp in them, this is one of them.)