The Movie Snob takes a train.
Murder on the Orient Express (2017) (B). Mystery is not really my genre, either for movies or for books, so I went into this new version of the Agatha Christie classic completely cold. (So why did I go see it? Because my favorite pop-culture podcast, The Substandard, recently did an episode about this movie, and I wanted to see it before listening to the podcast.) Given its middling Metacritic score of 52, I didn’t expect great things, and I was pleasantly surprised. Kenneth Branagh (Dunkirk) directs and stars as eccentric Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. After a fun scene establishing Poirot’s Sherlock Holmesian powers of observation and deduction, he boards The Orient Express—a luxury train (the year is 1934) heading northwest from Istanbul. The train is full of colorful characters played by famous actors, including Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), Michelle Pfeiffer (Stardust), Penélope Cruz (Volver), and Johnny Depp (The Tourist). Then a passenger is murdered in the middle of the night, and an avalanche halts the train in a remote mountain pass. Can Poirot solve the mystery before the killer strikes again? To me, the whodunnit aspect of the movie is secondary; the fun is watching the peculiar detective interrogate the passengers and sniff out the clues. I enjoyed it.