Murder on the Orient Express ★★★★½

Other than hoping to watch a good movie, I had no expectations or preconceived notion of this new adaptation. I've never read any book by Agatha Christie before, nor have I seen any other film adaptation beforehand, let alone had a chance to see this one in theaters (due to work schedule. I bought the Blu-Ray a few weeks ago), but I felt good about buying and watching this film nonetheless. And fortunately, I was right.

One of the main surprises that caught me was the technical/theatrical pageantry and showmanship that's shown throughout; in terms of the film looking and feeling like something that's best seen in theaters (something I mildly regret), the cinematography (S/0 to the overhead shots), the costume/production design having a sense of elegance and cinematic class that adds to the time of 1934.

That sense cinematic elegance, pageantry, flourishes and showmanship is something that's constant in Ken Branagh's films, and one that he does very well (a matter of opinion but it does show), as well as his sincerity to the material and how Branagh clearly cares about the character, those around him, and the story itself. He also does a very good portrayal of Hercule Poirot; one that is odd, humorous, observant, optimistic, and has his own worldview. One that up until this case has been unchallenged.

Without spoilers (for now), I was quite surprised at the moral quandary and motive for the murder that takes place, why it happened and who did it. A quandary inside a case that shows that not everything in life is Black & White and that end may justify the mean.

Overall, as a layman to Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot, and MOTOE I was satisfied with the journey that I witnessed, the emotional and theatrical ride that occurred throughout, and how Michael Green the screenwriter, the entire cast, the artisans behind the scenes, and Branagh as both director and Poirot handled this new interpretation that's their own, and how their own voices were expressed.

I'm intrigued and excited to watch this again, hopefully, read some novels from Christie, and see more of Branagh's Poirot in Death on the Nile, and future stories (fingers crossed).

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