3 1/2 Stars
Some may question whether there was any need to remake Agatha Christie’s celebrated original 1974 version of Murder on the Orient Express.
But let’s face it, that was a pretty long time ago, and today’s audience probably wouldn’t even know who half the cast was.
Producer/Actor/Directo/All-round Renaissance man Kenneth Branagh has brought the world’s greatest moustachioed Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, back to life in a beautifully crafted and star-studded murder mystery.
Fairly faithful to the original, this new vison takes us back to a more old-fashioned type of storytelling.
We are introduced to Poirot solving a crime in Jerusalem, with his uncanny ability to detect the criminal established rather quickly and impressively.
But poor old Hercule is worn out from all his cleverness and needs a bit of a holiday, so he finds himself on a luxury train ride, chugging along back to Europe through the gorgeous winter scenery.
We are introduced to a swathe of characters, cameoes by some of the biggest names in Hollywood: Michelle Pfeiffer, Judy Dench, Penelope Cruz and Johnny Depp to name a few.
After one of the characters is murdered – no spoilers – everyone on board is a potential suspect, and everyone has a history or story to tell.
So it is up to Poirot to sift through all the evidence to solve the murder.
Visually the film is wonderful, it is reasonably paced with plenty of eye candy to enjoy, but I did feel there was an unnecessary rush to wrap up the story which had taken such pains to establish itself in the first half – blink and you’ll miss the most important clue.
Ultimately Poirot is successful, but in the end, he is left to question the nature of justice.
With such a jam-packed list of stars to cram into one film, the real star of the show and stealer of many a scene would have to be the magnificent moustache Branagh twirled and twisted.
In cinemas now.