12A – 114mins – 2017
NO BEACH-SIDE HOLIDAY
Kenneth Romeo & Juliet LIVE Branagh has dual duties as both headliner and director of this fourth adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic 1934 mystery novel, featuring “probably the greatest detective in the world” (self-professed), Hercule Poirot, the Dickens-loving gentleman with the distractingly-iconic moustache which successfully upstages a train-full of Hollywood A-listers.
Johnny “Jack Sparrow” Depp does dark as duplicitous businessman Edward Ratchett, who implores the famed Belgian to assist and protect him from threatening forces while they journey together across 1930s Europe on the legendary Orient Express. Suspecting Ratchett’s less-than-honest nature, Poirot declines the case, only for work to come a-calling regardless when the derailed and snowbound train becomes a crime scene. Every one of the exotic and eccentric passengers are prime suspects in the brutal murder of the feared and dastardly Ratchett.
Penélope Cruz, Daisy The Force Awakens Ridley, Willem Death Note Dafoe, Dame Judi Dench, Josh Beauty and the Beast Gad, Derek Jacobi, Michelle mother! Pfeiffer and Olivia Colman are among the biggest names who come under suspicion. All have secrets and motives for wanting Ratchett disposed of; some more apparent then others. Despite the claustrophobic carriages, Branagh directs dynamically, intersecting the on-board drama with many a swooping and awe-inspiring pan of the snow-swept mountains and valley vistas.
Orient Express 2017 looks consummately lavish and the mystery is drip-fed systematically across the run-time. The eventual reveal of the guilty party packs a really profound punch, raising an avalanche of philosophical questions. I’m relieved, therefore, that the influx of early quirkiness – establishing Poirot as an egg-measuring, shit-stepping eccentric in the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock mould – isn’t consistent throughout, as I feared a similarly incongruous tonal disparity to that which was displayed in Thor: Ragnarok.
CR@B’s Claw Score: