Ever since I saw the commercial for the movie last year, I’ve been meaning to watch the new Murder on the Orient Express movie. I missed it while it was in theaters, had to wait a few more months for it to come out on DVD (Amazon Video, actually), and then I finally got to sit down and enjoy it. I’ve already read the book (check out my review of that here) and, to be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this movie.
Let me explain. The book is wonderful, and I really enjoyed reading it, but if ever there was a plot that didn’t fit a Hollywood movie it was this one. Basically, they’re all on a train, somebody gets killed, and all the action ends there. The rest of the book is a series of interviews Poirot has with the different passengers, similar to the movie, but there are no action scenes, and not a great sense of urgency, as the train is stuck in the snow. It’s a very relaxed, take-your-time mystery novel. Not exactly suited for a two-hour, high-paced, mystery film, which is what we’ve come to expect from the genre nowadays.
So how did it turn out? Check below.
- Differs a lot from the book
As I said above, the book would be difficult to turn into a movie, and so it’s no surprise that the film differs in a few key areas. There are some action scenes added, some scenes twisted to have more action, and a lot of efforts at creating the sense that this case has to be solved quickly. Also, I don’t remember the people who were supposed to be digging the train out of the snow making such an appearance, nor do I remember the train being stuck on a bridge, but that could just be forgetfulness on my part.
I’m fine with adapting the book for the movies, but most of my problems with this stem from the category below.
- Actions scenes are random, somewhat forced
The action scenes are very forced, and don’t fit well with the plot. Not only that, but they’re barely action scenes. There’s about four or five of them throughout the film, and I don’t remember any of them being in the book, to be honest. If they were good scenes, I could have lived with it and ignored it, but they weren’t good, so… yeah. This is one for the bad category.
I never realized how much I enjoy about 5 different accents, all mixed up into one movie, until I watched this one. I really enjoyed them all, from Poirot, to the Russian, to the English man, and even Johnny Depp’s gangster American. (I wish he could have been in the film more, but given the character he was cast as this seems impossible.) Enjoy the glimpses of different cultures, all mashed together on one train, and really think about how unique of a case it was for that exact reason. The book did a great job of showing this, and the movie delivered as well on that mission.
- Poirot is very similar to in the book
I’ve heard the Poirot from the old film was very talented and had a great performance, whereas most of the other characters didn’t. Well, the entire cast in this one was solid, with a lot of A-list actors, but Poirot really stood out to me. From the curly mustache to the perfect accent (see above) to the thoughtful, interesting quotes, he seemed like a fantastic actor for the role, with a very well-written part to play.
- Johnny Depp/Poirot conversation
Back-packing on the two points above, I just wanted to point out that I really enjoyed the conversations between Johnny Depp (what’s his character’s name? I totally forget, wow. Casseti, or something.) and Hercule Poirot. Very good dialogue, with lots of foreshadowing and hints at the future of the movie. I love a good talking scene 😉
- First scene
Was the first scene in this movie from a different book? Can anybody let me know? If so, then that was smart of the writers to add it in, and I really enjoyed it. If it’s not from a different book, then still kinda cool I guess, but I’d rather them stick to stuff from the many, many Hercule Poirot novels.
This took me a while to think of the rating. It’s not as good as some of the movies, but I don’t watch a ton of mystery films. The closest I can think of that I watched was Zodiac (8.9) so with that being said…
Pretty good, I’d say. Definitely watch it!