MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Reviews and Discussion (Spoilers)

Discuss the latest Johnny Depp news, his career, past and future projects, and other related issues.
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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Reviews and Discussion (Spoilers)

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:22 am

Looks like the early reviews are starting to trickle in...they seem mixed.
Have any Zoners been able to see the film yet? What did you think?

Please note that there will be Spoilers in this thread.
~Joni


BBC
Film Review: Murder on the Orient Express




By Nicholas Barber
3 November 2017

In chapter one of Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie describes Hercule Poirot as “a little man with enormous moustaches”, so we can hardly blame Kenneth Branagh for giving the Belgian detective such a terrifyingly bushy expanse of facial hair. Not for him the modest squiggle sported by David Suchet and Albert Finney when they played Poirot in adaptations of the same novel. Instead, it looks as if Branagh couldn’t choose between the six different fake moustaches offered by the make-up department, so he decided to stick them all on in a row, and then put another one beneath his mouth, just to be on the safe side.

The resulting moustache - or moustaches - is typical of the film’s go-for-broke flamboyance and scale. Branagh, the director as well as the leading man, has tried to turn Christie’s intricate puzzle box into a lavish and dynamic blockbuster, shot on sumptuous 65mm. It’s this generous, crowd-pleasing impulse that makes Murder on the Orient Express so fizzingly enjoyable. But it’s also one reason why that enjoyment tails off, and the film runs out of steam before it reaches its destination.

Branagh and his screenwriter, Michael Green, even include some sleuthing that isn’t in the novel. They open with Poirot showing off his cleverness on the bustling streets of Jerusalem in 1934. It’s a sprightly comic sequence, reminiscent of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films, but it also brings more depth and poignancy to the character than most Christie adaptations ever do. As well as being courteous and kind, Branagh’s Poirot is a tortured perfectionist who is so obsessed by symmetry that when he accidentally puts one foot in a heap of manure, he has to put in the other one, too, for the sake of balance.

Once he has cleaned his shoes, he is summoned urgently to London, and has to book a last-minute berth on history’s most famously luxurious train, the Orient Express. His fellow passengers are an intriguing bunch. Among them are a scar-faced, pistol-toting wheeler-dealer (Johnny Depp) who is travelling with his put-upon secretary (Josh Gadd) and reserved valet (Derek Jacobi); a brash blonde (Michelle Pfeiffer) who calls herself a “husband hunter”; a snooty Russian princess (Judi Dench) and her German maid (Olivia Coleman); a racist Austrian professor (Willem Defoe); a Spanish missionary (Penelope Cruz); a pert British governess (Daisy Ridley); and more.

With so many compelling characters and illustrious actors onboard, it’s a pity that they don’t all have more to do. Green gives them speeches about their backgrounds and their politics, but none of them gets more than a handful of lines. Dench must have spent more time putting on her opulent costumes than she did delivering her dialogue.

Still, there is a lot to love about these early scenes. The non-stop movement, both of the camera and the train, charges Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express with the whirling energy that was missing from Sydney Lumet’s 1974 version. And first-class steam-age travel has never seemed more glamorous. It’s worth buying a ticket just to savour the alpine scenery, gleaming art-deco fittings, foot-tapping jazz, and mouth-watering catering. Only some clumsy chocolate company product placement leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

Then comes the titular murder, a stabbing that occurs just before the train is stopped by a snowdrift. That is, it’s a snowdrift in the book. In the film, of course, things are more dramatic. A lightning strike sets off a thunderous avalanche, and the Orient Express is derailed. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the film itself is derailed, too, but it never quite picks up speed again.

Perhaps this loss of momentum was inevitable. In both the novel and the film, all that happens after the murder is that Poirot agrees to investigate, and then talks to the other passengers, one by one. It’s just not very cinematic, and Branagh’s efforts to convince us otherwise only make matters worse. He sets the interrogations in different sections of the train, he wanders outside, he adds a pointless chase scene and some ludicrous business with a gun and a dagger. And while you can see why he wanted to throw in a bit more jeopardy and violence, you can also see these changes for what they are: contrivances that have nothing to do with the story.

Branagh would have been better off concentrating on the working of Poirot’s famous “little grey cells” - and getting the viewer’s little grey cells working, too. The delight of reading the novel is in spotting the clues and then marvelling at the deductions which the hero goes on to make. But the film-makers hurry past many of these clues, or miss them out completely. Not even Poirot could solve the mystery based on the evidence we are shown, so he has to resort to a combination of wild guesswork and furious shouting.

Naturally, Branagh gives the shouting his all. His Poirot is far more upset by the crime than his literary counterpart - and in general he is such a rich and beguiling character that I hope he returns for the sequel that’s hinted at in the final scene. But it was wrong of the film to be so slapdash about the details of the case. Christie’s whodunnits are beloved because they have ingenious plots, not because they have men with big moustaches running angrily through the snow.

★★★☆☆

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Re: MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Reviews and Discussion (Spoilers)

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:36 am

Hollywood Reporter

'Murder on the Orient Express': Film Review



Kenneth Branagh directs and stars in a remake of Sidney Lumet's Agatha Christie adaptation, alongside Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer and Judi Dench.

When the biggest difference between the new version of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express and its 43-year-old predecessor is arguably the size of the respective Hercule Poirot's moustaches, one has to wonder as to the pressing need for a remake. All the same, director-star Kenneth Branagh has delivered a version of Agatha Christie's 1934 murder-on-a-train mystery gem that may not be as starry but is snappier than the highly successful 1974 outing. Given the confined nature of the material as well as its period-specific aspects, this is a yarn that does not exactly invite radical reinterpretation. As such, its appeal is confined to the traditional niceties of being a clever tale well told, with colorful characters that are fun to watch being made to squirm by the inimitable Belgian detective. Moderate box-office results would appear to be in store for this Fox release that chugs out on Nov. 10.

Now as then, the roster of luminaries brought aboard for Sidney Lumet's uncharacteristically lush entertainment looks pretty astounding, beginning with Albert Finney as Poirot and also including Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Widmark, Lauren Bacall, Anthony Perkins, Jacqueline Bisset, Michael York and Wendy Hiller. Nonetheless, seen today, the film definitely takes its own sweet time with things, and the fact that Bergman won a best supporting actress Oscar for her work in a relatively drab role is utterly confounding; there's nothing special about either the part or performance.

So perhaps it's no coincidence that refashioning that role, by casting Penelope Cruz, is among the relatively small number of alterations screenwriter Michael Green has made in reconceiving this new edition. The other notable change lies in the introduction of a black character, Dr. Arbuthnot, played by Leslie Odom Jr., as a substitute for Connery's army colonel. Neither reconfiguration makes much difference in the bigger scheme of things.

Indeed, the most immediately noticeable distinction between the two versions is the size and design of the inspector's moustaches. While Finney's growth was a modest wee thing, Branagh's brush provokes one-of-a-kind fascination. The salt-and-pepper tendril sweeps back from above his thin upper lip at least halfway to his ears, while a dabble on the middle of his chin adds an exclamation point. The creation is immaculately tended to, particularly at night, when it's carefully protected by a special moustache mask, certainly the most important item in the impeccably attired investigator's suitcase.

Christie's yarn retains its ability to tease and amuse in a time-killing sort of way. As the remainder of the tale will essentially be confined to narrow railway cars, Branagh packs all the hustle and bustle he can into the first 20 minutes, which sweep through scenic parts of old Istanbul on its way to getting the characters aboard the Simplon-Orient Express back to Europe in the evening.

Naturally, the passengers on this last word in luxury trains are affluent and dressed accordingly (Alexandra Byrne designed the playful, spiffy wardrobe), but that doesn't make them classy; rather, they are a largely louche and suspicious bunch, deliberately endowed by their creator to harbor ulterior motives and possibly sinister designs. They are also outfitted with labels as well as names: Cruz is “The Missionary”; Willem Dafoe plays “The Professor,” who voices pro-Nazi sympathies; Michelle Pfeiffer (in Bacall's former role) essays “The Widow”; Daisy Ridley (taking the baton from Redgrave) becomes “The Governess”; Judi Dench (stepping in for Hiller) is in her element as the imperious Princess Dragomiroff; and Olivia Colman is “The Maid” for the latter (Rachel Roberts in the original).

But dominating the early-going is “The Gangster,” a swaggering tough guy with an accent to match played by Johnny Depp (Widmark embodied a more low-keyed version in the original); Josh Gad plays his assistant (following in Perkins' footsteps). The Gangster's motives, and his interactions with Poirot, become more complex than initially seems apparent, but what the fellow passengers all seem to share is some sort of acquaintance with a prominent American family whose child was kidnapped and ultimately found dead, a plot point lifted by Christie from the ghastly abduction of Charles and Anne Lindbergh's baby in 1932.

Christie's plot officially becomes a murder mystery when one of the main characters is killed in his compartment overnight; most of the remainder consists of a now aroused Poirot interviewing the key figures on board the snow-drift-stalled train and applying his extraordinary deductive skills to figure out who among the passengers did the deed.

In his direction but even moreso in his performance as the determined genius investigator, Branagh is energetic to the point of passionate fanaticism. For a good long while, the blunt-spoken, sometimes rude Belgian is flummoxed by a case that's unique in his experience, his frustration driving him to distraction. But his penetrating intelligence can never be denied for long, and Branagh the director has come up with a novel, if far-fetched, way of transferring his climactic revelation scene — where he spins his conclusions to the whole group — out of the train to a more scenic location.

Like Dunkirk earlier in the year, this Murder on the Orient Express was shot on 65mm film. While this format is a connoisseur's delight and always adds extra pleasure in the form of greater visual detail and sumptuousness, it remains mysterious why this story, confined as it is to cramped interior settings most of the way, called out for the rarely used higher-resolution film gauge. On it own merits, Haris Zambarloukos' cinematography is fine and functional, but the nature of the project rather severely restricts the visual opportunities.
Branagh's Poirot is fearless, penetrating and amusing in his relentlessness; in the end, it's pretty much a toss-up between Branagh and Finney as to who is more effective, although you could say Branagh's moustache alone gives him the edge by more than a hair.

Production companies: Kingberg Genre, Mark Gordon Company, Scott Free
Distributor: Fox
Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Marwan Kenzari, Olivia Colman, Lucy Boynton, Manuel Garcia Rulfo, Sergei Polunin, Tom Bateman
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Screenwriter: Michael Green, based on the novel by Agatha Christie
Producers: Ridley Scott, Mark Gordon, Simon Kinberg, Kenneth Branagh, Judy Hofflund, Michael Schaefer
Executive producers: Adita Sood, Matthew Jenkins, James Prichard, Hilary Strong
Director of photography: Haris Zambarloukos
Production designer: Jim Clay
Costume designer: Alexandra Byrne
Editor: Mick Audsley
Music: Patrick Doyle
Visual effects supervisor: George Murphy
Casting: Lucy Bevan, Tom Bateman
Rated PG-13, 114 minutes

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Re: MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Reviews and Discussion (Spoilers)

Unread postby Ade » Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:38 am

Yes I saw it yesterday - I wrote the below and put it on the news thread - sorry! Just to add - I really loved it and having discussed it a bit more with the people I went with - think it's going to become one of my favourites. It is just beautiful and detailed, it unfolds - do you know what I mean? Doesn't seem like it is in a hurry. As I've written below, Johnny's entrance is wonderful, the camera sort of lingers. From when he enters the film the other characters bounce off him. He keeps appearing even when you think he's done (sorry - really trying not to give any spoilers). Definitely go and see it. It has 70% on rotten tomatoes. Also worth saying it is the type of film the miserable critics love to pull apart.

There is one part when Johnny first walks through the train where I got a slight deja vu of James Bulger (I'd love to know if anyone else spots it) but other than that - it is a new character for him. No traces of Captain Jack or the Mad Hatter or anyone else came to mind. We all also thought (the group I saw it with) that he managed to be both handsome but so evil that he was also ugly. Definitely going to see it again as soon as I can next week.

Wrote yesterday:
Not sure if I am putting this in the right place but I saw it this afternoon. Oh my goodness - what a wonderful film.

Cinematically beautiful, it has real style but also substance. Every single actor is perfectly cast in my view and Kenneth Branagh is a wonderful, thoughtful, emotional Poirot.

But let's face it, I took the day off to see Johnny and I am so glad I did. He is fabulous. Unlike any other character I've seen him do in that he is bad through and through - not even saving graces of James Bulger who loved his mother and his son - this guy is really evil. I won't give any spoilers.

There is a first part of the film before Poirot gets to the train and then once all the passengers come together, Johnny's character really dominates for the next part His entrance - as in the first camera shot of his face - is immaculate. I want to see it again asap just to see that bit. Both in the performances and camera work there are parts where you just feel there is no hurry and audience has time to soak everything up. Johnny's first appearance one of those moments.

What I think is so mesmerising about the performance is that his evil radiates off his face and also the way he walks and holds his body.

I also loved that for certain flash back parts (which aren't gimmicky), they shoot in black and white. Very artistic.

I've just finished reading the book and I think they've done a brilliant job of being faithful whilst updating it to make it relevant.

I came out feeling so sad, I'd cried near the end. The music is lovely and all of the performance are wonderful. You do feel at the end that most of the main characters besides Poirot (Johnny, Michelle, Penelope, Daisy, Leslie, Josh, Judy) were given enough screen time. I remember thinking part way through 'I'd like to be seeing more of Penelope's character' and then she came more into it.

Right, going to watch them on Graham Norton now.

PS we'd opted for an early afternoon showing thinking no one would be in the cinema at that time. (1) it was about half full (2) the performances for the rest of the day were showing notices saying that they were almost sold out.

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Re: MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Reviews and Discussion (Spoilers)

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:40 am

Film Review: ‘Murder on the Orient Express’
Variety




Kenneth Branagh's take on Agatha Christie's eccentric detective is one for the ages, though his larger-than-life persona (and mustache) upstages her most famous mystery.
By Peter Debruge

Over the course of his 28-year directing career, Kenneth Branagh has adapted everything from literary classics (Shakespeare’s “Henry V”) to comicbook pulp (putting a distinctive Dutch-angle slant on Marvel’s “Thor”). Now, with “Murder on the Orient Express,” the audacious multi-talent forsakes brows both high and low in favor of the most extravagant mustache moviegoers have ever seen: a flamboyant spun-sugar swirl of silvery whiskers better suited to a circus strongman, or perhaps a turn-of-the-century unicycle salesman — than Agatha Christie’s beloved Belgian sleuth.

“My name is Hercule Poirot, and I am probably the greatest detective in the world,” Branagh pronounces from behind his elaborate lip toupee — which the crew called “the Badger,” seeing as how the furry salt-and-pepper pelt transforms the actor’s mug into a muzzle of sorts. From a character perspective, such ostentatious facial hair is clearly compensating for something (not intellect, for Poirot is notoriously gifted when it comes to using his “little grey cells”), though it requires an actor who is completely confident in his own abilities to pull off, as a lesser thespian might be upstaged by it entirely.

As it happens, Christie saw Poirot’s mustache as an over-the-top indulgence, an eccentric extension of the detective’s personality, and she took great pleasure in letting various characters poke fun at it over the course of the 33 novels in which Poirot appeared. (She was reportedly never satisfied with the wax-tipped falsie Albert Finney wore in the 1974 version, directed by Sidney Lumet.) That film has its charms, among them an all-star cast ranging from Ingrid Bergman to Sean Connery, but hasn’t held up particularly well, leaving room for Branagh to give the classic mystery a fresh spin — although the undertaking also presents a formidable challenge, considering that its solution is one of the worst-kept secrets in English literature.

For those who know the outcome of “Murder” going in, the question isn’t so much whodunit as how Branagh will keep audiences guessing, and though he succeeds in creating the most memorable incarnation of Poirot ever seen on-screen (upstaging even Johnny Depp’s competing cameo), the movie is a failure overall, juggling too many characters to keep straight, and botching the last act so badly that those who go in blind may well walk out not having understood its infamous twist ending.

By contrast, the film’s opening is as elegant as they come, an invention of screenwriter Michael Green that introduces the world-renowned detective as a cultivated gentleman, whom Branagh himself plays, wearing the character’s thick French accent like a fine waistcoat — with pride, and the slightest dash of buffoonery. We meet Poirot obsessing over whether his Jerusalem hosts can prepare the perfect four-minute soft-boiled egg when the theft of an important relic demands his attention. In the most theatrical fashion imaginable, Poirot examines the scant evidence and delivers what for him can be the only logical conclusion to the crowd, anticipating even the guilty party’s escape plan.

This is how Branagh ought to handle the script’s central mystery — the murder of a dastardly criminal who had it coming (Depp, looking every bit the rake) — but instead he and Green seem overly worried that audiences might lose interest if they followed Christie’s clockwork-precise novel to the letter, concocting a dizzying series of diversions to suggest that the case might unfold otherwise (which, to some extent, it does). Meanwhile, the setup remains constant as Depp’s Samuel Ratchett (an alias for notorious sleaze Lanfranco Cassetti, responsible for the kidnapping and murder of 3-year-old American heiress Daisy Armstrong) dies aboard the Orient Express, stabbed a dozen times during the night by someone still aboard the train.

When a freak avalanche forces the Orient Express to stop on a precarious (and breathtakingly cinematic) stretch of track, Poirot finds the time to interview each and every one of the suspects — confined to the 12 first- and second-class passengers who might have had access to Ratchett’s cabin. Poirot, whose black-and-white worldview insists, “There is right, there is wrong, and nothing in between,” finds this to be his most difficult case yet, in part because each of these peculiar strangers could conceivably have a motive — yielding a complex dance of candor and deceit that invites audiences to test their detective skills to see who might be the most likely killer.

Among the ensemble, too many and ultimately too confusing to enumerate, are an unpleasant Russian princess (Judi Dench, all scowls and vinegar), an undercover detective (Willem Dafoe, assuming a showy Austrian accent), a fire-and-brimstone Spanish missionary (Penélope Cruz, playing the zealot) and an opportunistic widow (Michelle Pfeiffer, quite the minx), plus a handful of younger actors (Josh Gad, Daisy Ridley and Leslie Odom Jr.) who may well have been chosen to balance the studio’s potential-box-office algorithm for this pricey production — which is not to say that there’s a weak link among them. It’s just that Branagh finds himself wrangling a dozen wildly different character types, positioning them amid production designer Jim Clay’s meticulously recreated train set, and then permitting each to chew as much of said scenery as he or she can devour.

What a shame that the director, whose decision to shoot on 65mm gives the detail-oriented production a surreal (if rather unfortunate) “Polar Express”-like feel at times, wasn’t able to sustain the sense of wonder established in the film’s opening reel — especially during the pair of stunning tracking shots with which he unveils the Orient Express. For some reason, he privileges Poirot’s character (who is there to solve the case, not steal the show) and the train itself over his accomplished cast, even going so far as to invent an unnecessary love interest for the detective, deepening his character at the expense of the others, whose ostensible ties to the victim are barely explained.

As if to inject a bit of extra excitement into the whole affair, the movie manifests two weapons — a gun and a dagger — which serve to create a frisson of jeopardy while seriously undermining the solution to Christie’s intricate puzzle. When it does come time for Poirot to present his theory of what really happened, he lines everyone up like the disciples in Leonardo’s “The Last Supper” but fails to articulate how he untangled the far-fetched plot. Even Christie realized that she was going out on a limb with “Murder,” having one character exclaim: “This is more wildly improbable than any roman policier I have ever read!” But Branagh deflects, shifting the focus from the big reveal to what his character will decide to do about it, then letting him off the hook by suggesting that his skills are otherwise needed to investigate a death on the Nile — a nod to another Christie mystery that might have been better served by Branagh’s scene-stealing Poirot.


Reviewed at Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Los Angeles, Oct. 25, 2017. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 114 MIN.

PRODUCTION: A 20th Century Fox release and presentation of a Kinberg Genre, the Mark Gordon Co., Scott Free production. Producers: Kenneth Branagh, Mark Gordon, Judy Hofflund, Simon Kinberg, Michael Schaefer. Ridley Scott. Executive producers: Matthew Jenkins, James Prichard, Aditya Sood, Hilary Strong. Director: Kenneth Branagh. Screenplay: Michael Green, based on the novel by Agatha Christie. Camera (color, 70mm): Haris Zambarloukos. Editor: Mick Audsley. Music: Patrick Doyle.

WITH: Kenneth Branagh, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Daisy Ridley, Marwan Kenzari, Olivia Colman, Lucy Boynton, Manuel Garcia-Fulfo, Sergei Polunin, Tom Bateman, Miranda Raison.

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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Reviews and Discussion (Spoilers)

Unread postby redrascal1 » Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:25 pm

I might be the only one who feels this way,but Johnny really shines playing bad guys - Sweeney Todd (although he is more like a victim) George Jung, John Dillinger....and my particular favourite Sheldon Sands. Cant wait for the Fabulous Beasts sequel. :cheers:

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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Reviews and Discussion (Spoilers)

Unread postby Lbock » Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:45 pm

So far rotten tomatoes holding at 70%. Yay

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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Reviews and Discussion (Spoilers)

Unread postby fireflydances » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:30 pm

I kind of read reviews between the lines, which is to say that if asked I really couldn't tell exactly what the reviewer liked or didn't like. I guess the truth of the matter is I don't really care at all what they say. Only, only if they write something so awful about a movie, and then I know they are selfishly ruining it for others. Because what is the purpose of the review anyway? If you really read it, the reviewer's own prejudice gets stuck in your head and that glorious movie you wanted to see, the perfect one, is now very slightly tarnished. A bad review accomplishes nothing. Whereas a blessedly perfect review shimmers.

I guess, let the fans speak, and only the fans. I trust the fans' ability to discern what is good and what could be better.
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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Reviews and Discussion (Spoilers)

Unread postby ibbi 3 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:51 am

Thank you Ade for your comment on the movie. I really look forward to it, but it has me worried a bit too. In Black Mass, Bulger was so evil at times, it really scared me, and I had a hard time looking at Johnny like that. Later I realised ( I figured ) he proberbly channeld all his anger and hate towards his ex wife in that pic. And it was scary, like in one scene were he treatens a woman - can't remember her name.
If he uses all his hatred and anger, frustration and sorrow, like this, after what happend the year before, I can imagine he's really evil.
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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Reviews and Discussion (Spoilers)

Unread postby Ade » Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:26 am

Hmmm, honestly I wouldn't worry - there is something about the whole set and the costumes - it is like you are watching a piece of art. Definitely a performance. I wish Graham Norton had asked him what he based this character on rather than asking about past ones. But anyway, I really think Johnny fans and non Johnny fans would enjoy this film.

But if you are worried - my top tip for putting myself in a good mood or a particular frame of mind - is to watch a video clip of Johnny as Johnny. Maybe do that after you've seen the film. Cannot tell you how many times I've watched his 2017 People's Choice Awards speech or more recently footage of him on the Ellen Show or Jimmy Kimmel or just on the red carpet in Beijing. It makes you realise what a world away he is from the bad guys of this world. And thinking about it - I have done that after watching Black Mass and the Say10 video - both of which I love, but to stop myself having bad dreams I need to remind myself of what a sweet, lovely man he is!

I will be staggered if any of his fans have complaints about MOTOE - save for the fact that he could have been in it more. He is mesmerising I promise you.

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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Reviews and Discussion (Spoilers)

Unread postby Ade » Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:29 am

PS on another thread Tara called him the 'adorable villain'. That's it! Brilliant description. So frustrated I can't go and see it again until later this week.

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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Reviews and Discussion (Spoilers)

Unread postby justintime » Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:04 pm

Loved reading your comments, Ade! Can’t wait till we can see it over here, just wary about the reviews . . .
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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Reviews and Discussion (Spoilers)

Unread postby ibbi 3 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:01 am

Thank you so much Ade :goodvibes: :goodvibes:
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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Reviews and Discussion (Spoilers)

Unread postby Ade » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:02 am

No problem. Hoping to see it again tomorrow night.

I think I've made clear my views on the Daily Mail elsewhere here but credit where it is due - it printed a MOTOE review with a four star rating and I must say a very good write up in my view. Has to be slightly barbed about Johnny of course but I particularly liked this paragraph:

@Branagh the director does eventually over-indulge Branagh the actor, particularly as that Christie staple, the climactic reveal of whodunit, nears. But he draws an unexpectedly decent turn from Depp, and the best performance for a while from Pfeiffer.@

Well not unexpected to us, and I would say it is more than decent, but unexpected praise! I pasted it below and with a link.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/event/a ... light.html



Just the ticket: Kenneth Branagh's all-star Murder On The Orient Express is a gorgeous-looking and thoroughly entertaining period delight
By Matthew Bond for Event Magazine

David Suchet played Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s much-loved Belgian detective, for an extraordinary 24 years, delivering a performance that eventually felt so definitive – albeit on the small screen – it was difficult to imagine any other actor even daring to have a tilt at the role.

So, as a new version of Murder On The Orient Express arrives in cinemas, it’s important to remember that there have been other Poirots; good ones, too.

Death On The Nile would not be Death On The Nile without that great polyglot and raconteur Peter Ustinov, while Albert Finney secured an Oscar nomination for the star-festooned 1974 version of Murder On The Orient Express. Even if it was his legendary co-star Ingrid Bergman who actually won.

Sir Kenneth Branagh (above with the all-star cast) directs and stars in this gorgeous-looking and thoroughly entertaining adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder On The Orient Express +5
Sir Kenneth Branagh (above with the all-star cast) directs and stars in this gorgeous-looking and thoroughly entertaining adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder On The Orient Express

And now the baton – not to mention the moustache and cane – pass to Sir Kenneth Branagh, who has already had a go at one overseas detective – the gloomy Swede Kurt Wallander – and clearly likes the challenge of another.

Indeed, he likes the challenge so much he’s not only playing Poirot but directing the film as well.

The result is a gorgeous-looking and thoroughly entertaining period delight, a riot of crystal glassware, mahogany-lined railway carriages and pyrotechnic flambé pans; not to mention the most extravagant moustache since General Kitchener.

While Suchet’s Poirot favoured modesty and waxed precision when it came to facial hair, Branagh’s goes all out for size.

Cast-wise, it doesn’t quite rival the Oscar-winning 1974 version, but with the likes of Michelle Pfeiffer, Derek Jacobi and Judi Dench (above with Olivia Colman), it certainly runs them close +5
Cast-wise, it doesn’t quite rival the Oscar-winning 1974 version, but with the likes of Michelle Pfeiffer, Derek Jacobi and Judi Dench (above with Olivia Colman), it certainly runs them close

Cast-wise, it doesn’t quite rival the 1974 version, when Finney and Bergman were joined by Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery and John Gielgud.

But the likes of Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer, as well as Branagh’s old Renaissance Theatre colleagues Derek Jacobi and Judi Dench, certainly run them close, even if the inadvertent result is an actress as well-known as Penélope Cruz having a justifiable claim to feeling under-used.

I loved the opening, which – helped by some impressive, if never quite invisible visual effects – does an outstanding job of evoking the pre-war Levant of 1934, that golden era when a gentleman, or dowager duchess or gung-ho governess, come to that, could travel from London to Baghdad by train, changing only in Paris and Istanbul.

Poirot, however – having got the film off to a great start by harnessing those ‘little grey cells’ to spectacularly crack a case in Jerusalem – is travelling in the opposite direction, boarding the train in Turkey after an urgent telegram summons him back to London.

Branagh the director does eventually over-indulge Branagh the actor, but he draws an unexpectedly decent turn from Johnny Depp (above) as Ratchett +5
Branagh the director does eventually over-indulge Branagh the actor, but he draws an unexpectedly decent turn from Johnny Depp (above) as Ratchett

But it is not just an avalanche that derails his journey; this being Agatha Christie, murder very clearly lies ahead.

The obvious difference between Branagh’s Poirot and Suchet’s is that Branagh’s is less camp.

Along with that macho moustache, he’s even been given a beautiful and unmistakably female ex. ‘Ah, Katherine,’ he sighs over an old photograph: ‘Mon amour.’

As for the detective’s famous fastidiousness, that’s now evolved into a variety of what might be lazily dubbed OCD. It’s not dirt that upsets this Poirot but disorder, a point cleverly underlined when he steps into a pile of horse-muck.

The new Poirot doesn’t shriek and demand a new pair of clean shoes; he simply steps into the muck with the other shoe as well. Order, symmetry, has been restored.

Story-wise, it’s hampered only by the towering improbabilities of the tangled plot. A sequel is clearly in the offing if this one proves a success (above Derek Jacobi and Penélope Cruz) +5
Story-wise, it’s hampered only by the towering improbabilities of the tangled plot. A sequel is clearly in the offing if this one proves a success (above Derek Jacobi and Penélope Cruz)

This near-phobia for disorder, he explains, makes most of his life unbearable: ‘But it is useful in the detection of crime,’ a line emphasising the fact that American screenwriter Michael Green, who, with both Blade Runner 2049 and Logan to his name, was an unlikely candidate for a Christie adaptation, wants to take his source material seriously rather than send it up.

Which is to be admired. Even the rather contemporary-sounding but box-office-boosting points he brings in about race (of the 13 suspects, one is black, another Hispanic) fit in well.

Branagh the director does eventually over-indulge Branagh the actor, particularly as that Christie staple, the climactic reveal of whodunit, nears. But he draws an unexpectedly decent turn from Depp, and the best performance for a while from Pfeiffer.

IT'S A FACT

Agatha Christie came to hate her creation, Hercule Poirot, whom she called a 'detestable, bombastic, tiresome, ego-centric little creep'.

Shot in 70mm – possibly just to capture the full magnificence of that moustache – some of the cinematography is dazzling. Look out for a fabulous tracking shot as Branagh and Pfeiffer meet for the first time and make their way through the train.

At other times, however, the combination of the widescreen, high-resolution format and swooping camerawork somehow inadvertently reveals the artifice – the model-making, the visual effects – that lies beneath. We’re always entertained by this film but we never quite forget that it’s not real.

Story-wise, it’s hampered only by the towering improbabilities of the tangled plot and by the fact that Christie clearly found the inspiration for her story in the real-life tragedy of the Lindbergh kidnapping – in which the 20-month-old Charles Lindbergh Jr, son of aviator Charles Lindbergh, was abducted and murdered – which occurred barely a year before she sat down to write her book.

In these more sensitive times, such overt commercial exploitation would draw censure rather than admiration.

But, eight decades on, I think we can safely let that pass. The presence of Star Wars’ Daisy Ridley in the supporting cast signals that this is an Agatha Christie for a new generation.

With a sequel clearly in the offing if this one proves a success, we may not have seen the last of those super-sized whiskers. Or those little grey cells, come to that.


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justintime
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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Reviews and Discussion (Spoilers)

Unread postby justintime » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:11 pm

Ade wrote:I think I've made clear my views on the Daily Mail elsewhere here but credit where it is due - it printed a MOTOE review with a four star rating and I must say a very good write up in my view. Has to be slightly barbed about Johnny of course but I particularly liked this paragraph:

@Branagh the director does eventually over-indulge Branagh the actor, particularly as that Christie staple, the climactic reveal of whodunit, nears. But he draws an unexpectedly decent turn from Depp, and the best performance for a while from Pfeiffer.@

Well not unexpected to us, and I would say it is more than decent, but unexpected praise! I pasted it below and with a link.


Thank you, Ade!

You are, however, far more kind and generous than I. The Mail’s insinuation that Branagh had to jump through hoops directing Johnny only to reap “an unexpectedly decent turn” from him is smug, grudging, and downright insulting... AND reserved only for Johnny. A “left-handed” comment as we used to say in the days of rampant political incorrectness. The Daily Mail has a long way to go before I start scribbling credits on its balance sheet where Johnny is concerned.
"Stay low." ~ JD
"I don't like it in here . . . it's terribly crowded." ~ Hatter
"There's something about Johnny that breaks your heart." ~ John Logan, ST
"Tear deeper, Mother." ~ Wilmot

Ade
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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Reviews and Discussion (Spoilers)

Unread postby Ade » Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:07 pm

Fair point!

At the risk of irritating non-UK residents greatly, I couldn't wait until tomorrow and saw it again tonight. Cried again at the end - got to enjoy Johnny's performance even more as I could anticipate shots coming up. One thing I noticed was that both the first shot of Poirot and of Ratchett, the camera lingered on the back of the head/back. When Johnny turns around and you get a first view - wow!

Even though as I said above his character is so evil and that really comes out in his face, there are a few shots where Johnny is just so beautiful he can't help himself! The scenes in black and white are particularly visual. HIs makeup is also superb - really etched lines into his face.

Still I think my favourite part is a walk through the train with Ratchett just being so rude to his valet. I wondered if Johnny based it on the worst kind of arrogant celebrity- maybe Harvey Weinstein - issuing orders to underlings! I do hope some interviewer asks him what ingredients he used this time around. The lunch conversation between Poirot and Ratchet is also excellent - this was the one Kenneth Branagh talked about them improvising and you can really see it is only very loosely scripted. They just went off. A joy to see two such superb actors.

Cannot wait for the rest of you to see it. Very, very classy.


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