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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Cindy Prascik's Review of Murder on the Orient Express

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for the much-anticipated remake of Murder on the Orient Express.
Spoiler level here will be mild, on the off chance there's a living soul who doesn't know how this one plays out.
A murder on a derailed train leaves a carload of suspects stranded with the world's greatest detective.
2017's Murder on the Orient Express isn't likely to match its 1974 counterpart in the hearts of critics and fans, and is even less likely to match Thor: Ragnarok at the box office. It seems to exist in a weird little comfort zone of middling expectations, but a much-loved story combined with an extraordinary cast made it a must-see for me, and it did not disappoint.
I simply love the way this movie was filmed. At every turn there is a gorgeous panoramic view or a perfect angle on a face or a table setting or a train car that reminds me how great a movie can be just for being a movie. Much like The Revenant, I could have gazed upon its beauty for hours even if I despised the rest of it, which I most certainly did not. The film sets a light tone to start, earning some laughs while familiarizing viewers with the great Poirot's talents and idiosyncrasies, then things go progressively darker as the unfortunate events play out. Kenneth Branagh's moustache game is as on point as his portrayal of the iconic detective. I am faithfully married to David Suchet's Poirot, and was quite surprised to find I wasn't making unfavorable comparisons in my head over the course of the movie. As a die-hard Depp-a-Holic, I am delighted to see Johnny in a decent film where he doesn't play the weird guy with the funny hat. Neither the story nor the size of the ensemble allows him as much screen time as I'd like, but this role is a friendly reminder of those details to which Depp tends better than anyone else: accents and small mannerisms that really make a character. May his career swing ever further back in this direction towards a long-deserved Oscar. The supporting cast is solid, with no one outside of Branagh really getting enough face time to delight or offend. Lovely costumes and a luscious score by Patrick Doyle are the perfect accents to this old-school mystery. Orient Express is a tale that doesn't keep its secrets especially well, but it moves at a good clip and doesn't suffer much for the fact that you'll probably guess the outcome, even in the unlikely event you didn't already know it. A ghastly musical number called "Never Forget," showcasing the dubious vocal talents of Michelle Pfeiffer, nearly made me forget how much I liked the movie when it crashed the end-credits, but fortunately I recovered before I had to start writing this review.
Murder on the Orient Express clocks in at an efficient 114 minutes and is rated PG13 for "violence and thematic elements."
It may not match the brilliance of the 1974 classic, but 2017's Murder on the Orient Express mixes an iconic tale with an extraordinary cast to create an enjoyable bit of cinema. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Murder on the Orient Express gets seven and a half.
Fangirl points: Don’t suppose anyone else looked over this cast and thought, “Hey, that’s the dude from Magnificent Seven??” Also... Olivia Colman! Hadley Fraser! Leslie Odom, Jr.!
Until next time... 

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