Kenneth Branagh’s version of “Murder on the Orient Express” isn’t as bad as NJ Transit, but it does make a little too many breaks. What I’m implying is that as well-acted as some of the stars are and as curious as I was about who the murderer was, I could barely read them.
Branagh directs himself as the world famous detective Hercule Proirot (some mispronounce it as “Hercules”), who needs a vacation, and travels on the express train to London. En route, an avalanche stops the train, and a gangster (Johnny Depp) has been stabbed to death.
One of the passengers on the train did it. But who? Could it be the gangster’s secretary (Josh Gad)? The gangster’s valet (Derek Jacobi)? The racist professor (Willem Dafoe)? The American widow (Michelle Pfeiffer)? The Princess Natalia Dragomiroff (Judi Dench)? Her maid (Olivia Colman)? The African-American doctor (Leslie Odom, Jr.)? The young governess (Daisy Ridley)? Or the Spanish missionary and nurse (Penélope Cruz)? Or could it be someone else?
Branagh gives a likable performance as Poirot, but his direction keeps on getting delayed. He gets all these big names and yet only few provide me some clues. One of them sounds great obvious, and one of them was meaningful.
The only other actors I did like were Odom, Jr., Pfeiffer, Ridley, and Gad, but the rest never seem to deliver. I can’t recommend “Murder on the Orient Express,” but I’ve had worse experiences on a train than this.