I’d been waiting to see Murder on the Orient Express for months, ever since I watched some early cuts back in the spring – so I was excited for this one.
FOOD/DRINK BEFORE SCREENING: champagne and coffee
EXPECTATION OF MOVIE: high
My energy levels were low, though – I’d just flown overnight to London and was working on about 3 hours of sleep. I’d also had both champagne and coffee before the screening.
Needless to say, I felt a little out-of-whack.
But my expectations were high because of the all-star cast lead by Kenneth Branagh.
The movie is set during the same time frame as the original book - more than 80 years ago, when travel was still a glamorous activity for the wealthy, particularly on a train like the Orient Express.
I have to give huge praise to the production crews and set designers who made this film come to life. The train cars were all re-creations, the mountainous region was a set, and virtually everything was filmed on sound stages and studio lots outside London.
But you'd never know it.
It's a gorgeous movie shot in 65mm, and every visual detail feels purposeful and authentic.
I was also a big fan of Branagh's performance as Detective Poirot - from the mustache to the French accent he mastered specifically for the movie.
Michelle Pfeiffer also has some great moments as Mrs. Hubbard, a widow from America who she plays as more sexy than insufferable.
But if I'm being honest, the rest of the cast felt flat. The characters just aren't very developed or dynamic – a shame when Judi Dench and Derek Jacobi are in the mix.
And – full disclosure – I don’t love the ending of the movie because I never loved the ending of the novel. For me, it's one of the most implausible who-dun-its.
Maybe knowing the punchline going in made the film less interesting to me?
Whatever the reason, I found Murder on the Orient Express pretty as a picture but a little boring.
It's not a bad film - it just doesn't feel like it's breaking any new ground.
WHAT IS “HONEST REVIEW”?
I’m a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. I interview actors and filmmakers. I’ve worked in broadcast television for 20 years.
I’m also a Seattle wife and mom who works full-time and sits in an hour of traffic (minimum) every day.
Sometimes I’m tired when I screen a movie. Sometimes I’m traveling and I miss my kids. Sometimes I’ve had a glass wine when I should have had a glass of water.
All of these things can impact my reaction to a film. Because I’m human.
So in an effort to write an Honest Review, I’ll always list the external factors that might affect my enjoyment of the movie. Then, I’ll give you my review. Then, you can decide if it’s useful or not.
What do you think of Honest Review or Murder on the Orient Express? Let me know at @kimholcomb.