Movie Review: Murder on the Orient Express

DIRECTOR Branagh plays Hercule Poirot, crime novelist Agatha C­hristie's enigmatic Belgian ­detective, in this movie based on her best-selling 1934 book.

The novel was also adapted into a film in 1974, and like this one, it boasted an all-star cast.

Poirot is seen here as a finicky man who is particular about the size of the eggs served for his breakfast.

After solving a crime in Jerusalem, he is requested by the British Consulate to look into another case in London.

With help from his friend Bouc (Tom Bateman), he gets first-class passage on the long-distance train, The Orient Express, where he meets his fellow passengers.

There is the fussy Princess Dragomiroff (Judi Dench) and her quiet maid Hildegarde Schmidt (Olivia Colman), the widow Mrs Hubbard (Pfeiffer) who is looking for new love, the governess Miss Debenham (Daisy Ridley), Dr Arbuthnot (Leslie Odom Jr), ex-nurse-turned-missionary Pilar Estravados (Penelope Cruz), and racist professor Gerard Hardman (Willem Dafoe).

Poirot is then approached by the gangster-like Samuel Ratchett (Depp), a man who admits to cheating his clients and now needs protection after receiving some death threats. Repulsed by Ratchett, Poirot refuses to help.

Soon after, an avalanche derails the train and after checking the passengers, they discover Ratchett dead on his bed with multiple stab wounds.

Bouc asks Poirot to find the killer because he fears the Yugoslavian police at their next station will target certain passengers due to their race.

In his investigations, Poirot finds a link between this case and another tragic case that he was asked to look into, but was unable to do so due to circumstances.

In this film, some characters stand out, while others end up being part of the backdrop.

For some reason, the passengers in other compartments are never seen and the whole movie just featured those in the first class.

Branagh also likes to do close-ups of his own character during key scenes but that magnificent moustache ends up being a huge distraction.

If you have never read the story or watched its film and TV adaptations before, you will be taken in by the twist ending. There's even hints of a sequel at the end.