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Movie Review – Murder on the Orient Express

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The beauty of this movie lies in the scenery and videography; definitely not in the story.

I went in as one of those people who had heard of the story, but never read the book, nor watched any of the previous versions. I didn’t care for the investigation, the characters, or especially the outcome. The only thing that I did find mildly interesting is the commentary on how best to serve justice.

I saw the movie on a huge IMAX screen, and it was worth it. Even though almost all of the exterior shots are CGI it was beautifully done. Not as beautiful as something like *Life of Pi*, but picturesque nevertheless.

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I can’t imagine how anyone would want to see this movie if they knew going in *who did it.* I certainly wouldn’t. But if you’re a fan of the story, then sure, give it a watch on the big screen. Otherwise, wait for the DVD.

Movie Grade – C

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  • Jill Florio Administrator

    I actually very much enjoyed this. As an avid Mystery book reader, I’ve heard of the 1934 book, of the writer Agatha Christie, and even of her recurring reclusive detective Hercule Poirot. (It’s the kind of name that sticks with you.)

    But that is ALL. I. Knew. For a book almost a hundred years old I don’t know how come I wasn’t spoiled! Even after this movie came out I still wasn’t spoiled. That’s got to be a miracle.

    In any case, the clues were very good, and the backstory was tragic enough, that I thought the ending was perfect. I guessed early on who the actual killer was, which made me happy, but I KNEW I was right at the ‘Last Supper’ blocking of the climax. No director goes to such lengths without due cause. It’s beautifully done.

    And as you say, the setting is rich and superb. I loved seeing the bit players in the background actually digging the train out, and watching the progress in the background. The ‘ticking clock’ here wasn’t forced — the progress created a constant remind of the how much time was left to solve the mystery.

    I saw this on my airplane seat back, and would be excited to have seen it on the big screen. But as it was, seatbacks are great for constant playbacks of everyone’s reaction shots. I think that helps a lot. It also helps with the frequently unintelligible lines by many of the actors, which should never happen in the film with such otherwise loving directorial quality (by Kenneth Branagh, who was also in it).

    And now I wonder if the Last Supper blocking was hinted at in the novel or was something exciting Branagh devised. You see a lot of Jesus callbacks in a lot of entertainment — the Pieta pops up a lot, and of course the Christ on a Cross imagery. Stigmata, grail, and blood symbolism. Very stylized movies might have lighting worthy of a Caravaggio.

    But you need a big cast for The Last Supper, and a reason to stage people so carefully.

    Anyway, I enjoyed this greatly, and am interested in finding this book on Kindle and see how Christie reads. And there’s a nod to Death on the Nile at the end of Orient Express (the movie) …and there’s news Nile is in the pipe for the next film. YAY!

    This is a solid B for me.

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