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“Murder on the Orient Express” Fails to Stay on Track

The adaptation is a beautiful, but confusing mess

Hercule+standing+in+front+of+the+Orient+Express
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“Murder on the Orient Express” Fails to Stay on Track

Hercule standing in front of the Orient Express

Hercule standing in front of the Orient Express

Photo by Flickering Myth

Hercule standing in front of the Orient Express

Photo by Flickering Myth

Photo by Flickering Myth

Hercule standing in front of the Orient Express

Sam Klemme, Entertainment Editor

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“Murder on the Orient Express,” a book made movie by Agatha Christie, is an interesting take on the mystery genre. It has a beautiful set and scenery, but it’s plot and character development is lackluster at best. It’s attempts at making a meaningful outcome are overly cluttered and complicated for an underwhelming ending.

This movie follows the case of Hercule Poirot, played by Kenneth Branagh, as he happens upon the murder of a shady business man by the name of Ratchett, played by Johnny Depp. Hercule is a Sherlock-like detective who can solve almost every case with stunning accuracy. He is starting to recline and just wishes for a break. He reluctantly takes another case and has to take the Orient Express to reach his destination. An avalanche stops the train in its tracks and during the delay Ratchett is stabbed.

Hercule is called to the case.

The plot in this movie was good on paper, but not on screen. The movie did not have enough time to present everything coherently. There was just too much that the viewer needed to know so that there was rarely a moment to take a step back and view it for what it was. Along with that, Hercule commonly came to realizations with little to no explanation to the audience. With its plethora of characters to keep track of, most of the 2 hour runtime ended up being a constant stream of information.

The cast of characters was difficult to follow and the sheer amount left little for development and change. Each character was presented in one way for most of the movie only to change drastically by the drop of a pin. Along with that some characters were not very clear from the get go. Many of the characters’ stories ended up blending together making the plot difficult to piece together.

Photo by Flickering Myth
Several posters like this introduce the character and their profession

Hercule, on the other hand, had the most in-depth change of all and it was a joy to follow. This is the first case that he has ever had trouble on and watching him struggle with the case and his own personal desire to retire builds an empathy towards him. He starts to question his own process and morality the further he moves on.

The scenery in this movie was breathtaking. Most of the film consists of the characters in a 1930s style train atop a mountain. The backdrop of a sprawling mountainous valley parked with the posh interior of the train created a perfect tone. The snow conveyed an almost hopeless feeling at times which paired nicely to the confusing case.

The ending to this movie was very underwhelming. It hasn’t been done before, which was nice, but it was not the climactic ending ending that it could have been.

A large portion of the issues can be attributed to the fact that it is an adaptation of a book. The book took a considerable longer time introducing each character giving them more impact to the overall plot. Everything that was not explained well in the movie was presented in the book because it had more time introduce it.

Overall, this movie was very mediocre. The complication of the plot and characters was difficult to follow, but the main character was a joy to watch. I don’t think I can say definitively whether it was good or bad, but that the best way to know is to see it.

Sam Klemme

Sam joined the Flightline in January of 2017. He is a senior this year, involved in choir, theater and cross country. Outside of school, he sings to himself and sits in his basement. You can email him at [email protected]

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“Murder on the Orient Express” Fails to Stay on Track