I admit it–I’m a fan of Agatha Christie and her two heroes–Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple. I have read every one of her 80+ books and plays and enjoyed them–lurking Anti-Semitism and all.
I was looking forward to the remake of Murder on the Orient Express, simply for the pleasure of sitting through the well-known clever plot and watching the snappy cast go through their lines. (teaser-trailer) However, there’s a big problem with this movie and I hate to say it because I usually love him–but it is Kenneth Branagh. When you direct, produce and star in a film, there’s going to be something wrong and there was–Kenneth all over the place, milking every scene, but somehow not being able to make up his mind about whether or not to do a real Belgian accent.
(roarmagazine) I loved his Henry V, the moving music by Patrick Doyle and of course the speeches. Not so much his Hamlet, which had him literally stretched across the screen bare-chested natch. I thought Dead Again was brilliant and I very much enjoyed his “Much Ado” filled to the brim with wonderful fellow actors like the late great Richard Briers (effigy) and where Branagh was genuinely laugh-out-loud funny. (imdb) But “Murder” is not Shakespeare and Branagh is not David Lean. Sometimes the shots were so forced they were silly, like the last one of the whole cast sitting outside in the snow while Poiret does his final summing up.
See it if you want to or you could look at the old version starring Albert Finney, a more successful Poirot. (cigarettesandsoap) Or better yet, view the Agatha Christie film I love the most, Evil Under the Sun, with Peter Ustinov as Poiret and Diana Rigg, Maggie Smith, James Mason and others as well as a swell score of Cole Porter songs orchestrated in period style.(retromoviebuff)