“Murder On The Orient Express”
Needs a Good Look
from Mystery Fans
By Tim Henares
Most mystery fans from the Philippines tend to restrict themselves to either the contemporaries or the classics of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, often overlooking one Agatha Christie.
If you happen to be one of those people, then you’re in for a treat if you decide to watch “Murder On The Orient Express,” simply because having no prior knowledge of the adventures and stylings of Hercule Poirot would result in a more exciting romp with the film. Here are 8 things to keep an eye out for as you enjoy one of the most beloved mysteries of all time.
A star-studded cast that stuns
From Dame Judi Dench to Johnny Depp to Willem DaFoe, you can clearly see that “Murder On The Orient Express” spared no expense to make for a compelling ensemble, and everyone played their respective parts marvelously.
The inevitable Holmes vs. Poirot comparisons
This version of Poirot is a lot more sprightly than most other interpretations, as he is at least capable of physically defending himself, but his reliance on his intellect more than the preponderance of evidence sets him apart from Sherlock Holmes quite a ways, as Poirot, in his many adventures, is often known as capable of solving a crime without ever visiting the crime scene himself.
A clever whodunit
For anyone who has not read the original or seen the adaptations, “Murder…” is definitely a gripping tale that actively challenges you to solve the crime alongside Hercule himself, instead of merely playing a spectator to one man’s genius.
The driest of humor
You would think that Sherlock Holmes, being British as British can be, would be rapt in dry humor, but Kenneth Brannagh’s almost hammy take on the Belgian sleuth is even more pointed in its humor, which makes for a far more biting Poirot than you would expect. Thankfully, he doesn’t outright fall into the “functioning sociopath” Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock happens to be, so his likability still exudes even if Kenneth Brannagh clearly looks nothing like Cumberbatch.
Everything falls into place so marvelously
With one murder setting off a chain of events in a snowbound train, the pacing of the film is masterfully done, even if most critics complain little was added or changed from the original. Again, that is a boon to people appreciating the work of Agatha Christie for the first time, and is for the best to introducing her sleuth to a new generation.
The opening mystery encapsulates Poirot perfectly
Who is Hercule Poirot? He’s a former policeman, a genius-intellect sleuth whose knowledge and understanding of the nature of the human person is both a blessing and a curse, and whose sense of order and justice is unshakable. Setting a character like that into the Orient Express was, indeed, a beautiful quandary whose stakes went beyond just the life of one murder victim.
A stellar, satisfying conclusion
Let’s face it: the original novel from which this film was adapted from could not have ended any better. Honoring this original ending and adding even more dramatic proof and justification to Poirot’s actions in the end only led for what was definitely a mystery well worth solving.
There’s room for more than one great detective
Move over, Sherlock Holmes. If Hercule Poirot’s reimagined first adventure is any indication, you and Hercule Poirot have a lot of opportunities to exchange notes in the coming years, as he goes on his own adventures on the big screen, all with a new generation of mystery fans watching closely.
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