Murder on the Orient Express steams its way to successfully putting a modern spin on a tale of revenge as old as time – an Agatha Christie classic whodunit, but with a twist. Thanks to actor/director Kenneth Branagh and screenwriter Michael Green, they successfully translate the 1934 crime novel to the silver screen once again.

Branagh takes on the ambitious feat of bringing to life Christie’s blunt, brilliant Belgian, dandy detective Hercule Poirot. He dazzles with brilliance and people far and wide seek his aid to help to effortlessly solve crimes that baffle even the most trained experts.

The detective ends up on the luxe express attempting to enjoy some time off from crime and mystery solving in Europe. However, he realizes trouble has found him when one of the passengers on the train, Samuel Ratchett (Johnny Depp), tries to hire him to find out who is threatening to take his life to seek vengeance for a past wrong.

Then there’s a murder and things literally get thrown off track when an unexpected avalanche derails the train and delays their journey until they can get dug out with a killer still among them. The victim had lots of enemies, so it could be anyone.

At first it seems it is the embezzling secretary, Josh Gad. But it could be the wealthy cougar, played by Michelle Pfeiffer. Then again, it could be the Princess Dragomiroff (Judi Dench) and her German maid that were behind the murder. While it is unlikely that the killer is the devout missionary played by Penelope Cruz or even the nervous Austrian professor Gerhard, brilliantly portrayed by Willem Dafoe, one thing is for sure: The killer is a passenger on the Orient Express.

Between Poirot’s epic mustache, witty commentary, and intricate storytelling, Branagh is able to keep the audience guessing and entertained throughout the film. Even though the central storyline is cliché, the veteran actor/director dodges the platitudinous themes and strives for deep insight during his monologues. His words, actions, and judgments are respected by all. In short, Poirot is justice. A superhuman with an omniscient view of humanity and an astute sense of morality that is able to transcend the baseline of right and wrong. Now that he has successfully established himself as a compelling character, the sequels are sure to follow.

From the epic ensemble to the fabulous wardrobe, Murder on the Orient Express is one train ride audiences won’t want to miss.

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