This movie was definitely on my ‘to watch’ list. There was so much publicity and hype about this star-studded adaption of Agatha Christie’s beloved novel.
As I started watching it, I was disappointed with the opening scenes in Jerusalem. It was a good 15-20 minutes before we even got on the train. The start was slow and boring and in my eyes, unnecessary. It had me thinking ‘ oh boy… here we go’ (and not in a positive way). And some parts of the movie felt a bit rushed. I also felt that the extra 15-20 minutes that was wasted in the beginning could have been spent better developing the characters.
Poirot was ok, his accent was fine. But that moustache was an absolute horror to see. Is this an eccentric detective or a mumbling cowboy who prefers to have both feet in the poo? (for those of you who’ve seen this – you’ll know what I mean!) There were bits in the movie where I couldn’t quite catch the dialogue… did any one else have that problem or was it just me? My favourite Poirot to date is David Suchet. It’s very rare when a character you’ve imagined in a book is recreated exactly how you imagined them. Well, David Suchet IS Poirot to me.
Other than that, after we got past the first 15-20 minutes of the movie, the story started and I enjoyed myself. The production was rich and elegant in its cinematography. I don’t think I’ve seen cinematography quite like it to be honest. The beautiful mountains, the sweeping views, the avalanche, the train, the characters through frosted windows etc… This definitely screams ‘big budget’ film. But the money was well spent where cinematography was concerned. I especially wanted to mention the murder investigation scenes which were done using ceiling down shots. Genius!
The costumes were delightful, but it lacked a bit of the glamour of the 1930’s that I admire in other adaptions of Agatha Christie’s novels.
I was amazed to see young Lucy Boynton playing such a mature role. I remember her in films like Sense & Sensibility or Miss Potter. She was wonderful as the twitchy and disturbed Countess. Also worthy of acting mention were Daisy Ridley, Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer. Kenneth Branagh did well as Poirot, but at points I felt he was overacting and trying too hard.
I have watched the other adaptions of Murder on the Orient Express & I have read the novel, so I did notice when certain things were changed or ‘hollywood-ized.’ (If that’s not a word, I’m coining it)
I was surprised when Ms Hubbard was stabbed, when the doctor’s name changed, when he was cast as a black man (not that I’m racist, but this is set in the 1930’s and would people have really seen a black doctor in those days… I think not), when the doctor was involved in a fight scene with Poirot…
Also where was the character Colonel Arbuthnot? His famous line in the book ‘I prefer a jury of 12 men,’ was a major clue to Poirot. Then they renamed the doctor’s last name to Arbuthnot for no reason.
Anyway, I don’t want to sound too harsh. Just because I noticed differences, and the start was slow doesn’t mean it’s not worth watching. I would recommend it for sure. It had a bit of that magical story-telling feel like Kenneth Branagh helped create in 2015 Cinderella. After I finished watching this movie my first thought was ‘I’m buying this movie,’ and ‘Agatha Christie is awesome.’ Did you feel the same way?