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Review Murder on the Orient Express (2017): Decent enough if you haven't read the book or seen the 1974 version. Otherwise stay clear!

genre: crime, drama, mystery, adaptation

This latest version of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express is a decent enough film to keep you entertained. Especially if you have never read the book or seen the other adaptations of this story. But if you like me are familiar then this film will disappoint you. Since it's the same story with very little deviation. A certain someone assured me that they did change the ending which got me excited. This someone was wrong and is going to receive adequate punishment soon enough. Because I basically wasted two hours of my life.

By no means is this a bad film. It certainly is a nice time waster where  Kenneth Branagh is adequate playing the famous detective Hercule Poirot. Although it has to be said that his Poirot is very different from the ones I am familiar with. Like Peter Ustinov, Albert Finney and David Suchet. Especially Suchet made his mark on me since he absolutely is perfect as Poirot. His quirks, his mannerisms, the smugness but at the same time maintaining charm and being a complete gentleman. Branagh's Poirot almost feels like a parody of the character. Still he does manage to win you over at the more serious moments.

However one major and very important element is missing. Tension. Not once did it truly feel like there was something at stake. I do remember that with the 1974 version I was on the edge of my seat as we got one misdirection after another. You absolutely had no idea who the killer was. Of course if you already know the story obviously the mystery won't compel you as it should. But even if you don't know the story should make you care and give you the idea that anything could happen. Only you won't because you don't really get to know the characters that well. The brief conversations aren't nearly enough to form any opinion on them. The big names do help a little but honestly they easily could have been replaced by unknown names and it would not have made a difference. It's not the fault of the actors. But we can blame the script and the direction of Branagh. I can't believe this is the same Branagh who directed Dead Again. If you have never seen that film then do so at once. It truly is one of the best thrillers ever made. 

For me this film was completely pointless. It didn't do anything new or fresh to make it truly interesting for me. I know that it might be considered sacrilege if an original story is changed too much. However in this case it would have been a blessing!

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