The much-anticipated adaptation of one of Agatha Christie’s most celebrated novels is finally here and how! Directed and protagonist portrayal by Kenneth Branagh, this movie has received wholehearted appreciation from religious fans while being attributed shallow in fairness to the acclamation of the book by the critics. However, perspectives vary and the essence of an exotic Agatha Christie was evidently conceived in its adaptation. To be able to see one of our favorite old school detectives come alive on the silver screen is a moment of utmost apprehension and eagerness.
Without giving away much of the suspense thriller, the plot of the movie revolves around the murder and eventual disclosure of the mystery of an American businessman on the Orient Express. Hercule Poirot as the ever-ravishing investigator sets out to find the murderer through a series of related events and occurrences. The director was able to bring out the obscure shades of the novel on screen. The charm of a period film and the quintessential English demeanor set the mood for the film. Being an avid Christie reader myself, her approach towards detective storytelling is a mix of oddly impassive annotations and straightforward conclusions without dramatic emotional bends. In this movie, however, we see a lot of spiritual undertones in the characters. The grounds of morality and forgiveness that works as an impetus in building Poirot as a character, is beautifully shown.
The movie as a whole is aesthetically stunning. The interiors of the train, the costumes, and props, all make for an extravagant setting. Stellar performances by an ensemble cast made it even more spectacular. Penelope Cruz as Pilar Estravados, Judi Dench as Princess Dragomiroff, Johnny Depp as Ratchett and Michelle Pfeiffer as Mrs. Hubbard among many others, brought out the best of their characters. The use of 65mm camera captured intricate close-up shots and unusual angles. Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot takes away the show and gives a prodigious performance. The movie gives the vibes of a stage drama decoratively elevated by a mesmerizing cinematography. The only snag worth mentioning was that there was no thorough utilization of such a grand cast. The cast as suspects had very little to deliver in their own space and credibility to each character got lost in the extravaganza. Despite the shortcomings, the movie is an elemental surprise as an adaptation.
A Brief about the Story
Poirot dragging the sentimental string in his character was a definite surprise. Thematically accurate, the story captures the true essence of Agatha Christie’s work. As a director and as an actor, Branagh was successful in emphasizing the different layers of a murder mystery. The utter dismay of the suspects and the quirk in Poirot’s expressions, everything led to a creative spectacle on the screen. The orchestral background score had symbolic importance with its mellow notes and crescendos, giving the scenes a strong bridge of added emotions. The intellectual innuendos, the design of storytelling, characterization, subtle slip of sentiments, all put together an engaging and lavish spread on the center table of the film industry.