FILM REVIEW
WORDS: AYFER SIMMS




Murder On The Orient Express  dir. Kenneth Branagh

You are not on this train for the suspense of finding who killed Ratchett, because you already know it since 1934. In fact when you enter the cinema hall, you already have a clear knowledge of who the main characters all are. There’s going to be a man stabbed twelve times, around the upper chest: to death. Looming over the dead body will be a cast so well chosen that you will not have to think about it at all, they’ll blend like butter on bread and leave you alone to face why you really came to see the movie: to travel on the Orient Express with Hercule Poirot onboard, for some glamorous adventures and a sense of folly tinted with Bourbon, champagne and a piquant smell of spices discreetly sprinkled on every passengers’ suitcases.

After David Suchet’s interpretation of Poirot, many of us were shivering at the idea of seeing another interpretation of the “best detective in the world”, figuring it would be hard to render a better version. Yet, Kenneth Branagh has raised the bar, his Poirot is not only mind sweepingly fascinating but also fierce.

He is portrayed a little less risible, a little more human with the profile of a man prone to melancholia and carrying his talent and distastes for “umbalance” like a curse. The emphasis on Poirot’s blue eyes and ash long undulated moustache will guide you through this cinematic bliss: this may be the closest you get to travelling on the Orient Express from Istanbul of which we get a glimpse.

Christie’s heart and soul is here, between the Baghdad and the Nile and the old ‘stamboul, lingering like a breeze, dashing our minds, pulling all our old imagery out with just a few scenes. You will shed a tear or two at the dramatic composure with which Poirot handles the case, fighting his own very soul, until he adds balance to the complexity of the human mind, before setting off again to yet another case…




 

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