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MOVIE REVIEW

Murder on the Orient Express also known as “Asesinato en el Expreso de Oriente,” “Murder on the Orient Express,” “An mang tren Chuyen Tau Toc Hanh Phuong Dong,” “Asesinato en el Orient Express,” “Assassinato no Expresso do Oriente,” “Assassinio sull'Orient Express,” “Crima din Orient Express,” “Dogu Ekspresinde Cinayet,” “Gyilkosság az Orient expresszen,” “Le crime de l'Orient-Express,” “Mord im Orient-Express,” “Mord på Orientekspressen,” “Morderstwo w Orient Expressie,” “Mordet på Orientexpressen,” “Ubojstvo u Orient Expressu,” “Vrazda v Orient Expresse,” “Zmogzudyste Rytu eksprese,” “Έγκλημα στο Οριάν Εξπρές,” «Вбивство в Схiдному експресi,» «Убийство в Восточном экспрессе,» «Убийство в Ориент експрес»

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for violence and thematic elements.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Genre:
Crime Mystery Adaptation
Length:
1 hr. 54 min.
Year of Release:
2017
USA Release:
November 10, 2017 (wide—3,341 theaters)
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

murder in the Bible

death

revenge

RACISM—What are the consequences of racial prejudice and false beliefs about the origin of races? Answer

Racism, Racial Issues and Christianity
Get biblical answers to racial hot-topics. Where did the races come from? How did skin color come about? Why is it important to have a biblical foundation for such issues?
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Featuring: Kenneth BranaghHercule Poirot
Johnny DeppRatchett
Daisy Ridley … Mary Debenham
Willem DafoeGerhard Hardman
Michelle PfeifferMrs. Hubbard
Penélope CruzPilar Estravados
Judi DenchPrincess Dragomiroff
Josh GadHector MacQueen
Marwan Kenzari … Pierre Michel
Lucy Boynton … Countess Andrenyi
See all »
Director: Kenneth Branagh—“Cinderella” (2015), “Thor” (2011), “Henry V” (1989)
Producer: Winston Azzopardi
Kenneth Branagh
See all »
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

“Everyone is a suspect”

Copyrighted, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Hercule Poirot just happens to be one of the world’s greatest detectives. His knack for never missing a detail, a clue, or give-away has made him one of the most sought after investigators across the globe. While returning from finishing up an investigation at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, Detective Poirot receives an urgent telegram to return to London to investigate a case there. He asks to receive transportation arrangements on board the Orient Express.

Once on board, Poirot is approached by an underhanded man named Mr. Samuel Ratchet (Johnny Depp). Mr. Ratchett confides with Poirot, stating he believes that someone is out to kill him. Ratchett wishes to hire Detective Poirot to serve as his bodyguard. Poirot refuses, even after Ratchet tries to bribe Poirot several times.

Later that evening Ratchett retires to his cabin. An avalanche occurs, and the train comes to a stop. A loud scream is heard throughout the hallway. When everyone awakes, they discover that Mr. Ratchett has been murdered. However, as Poirot, notices, there are an abundance of clues that do not make any sense at the crime scene: knife wounds that are inconsistent, a rag with chloroform, an open window, etc.

There are 13 possible suspects, and all of them had the means and the motive to kill Mr. Ratchett. As a sense of paranoia begins to build among the passengers, will Detective Poirot have what it takes to solve this case, or will he become a victim of his own investigation?

First I must mention that I have not seen the 1974 original “Murder on the Orient Express,” nor have I read the original Agatha Christie novel. So, my overall perspective on this film is based on seeing the film with “fresh eyes” and no preconceptions or comparisons.

What originally interested me in this film was not the cast lineup (Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad, etc.), which, to their credit, give some-pretty solid performances, but rather the appeal for me was the opportunity to watch a good old-fashioned down-to-earth mystery thriller—a classic “whodunnit” scenario without the need for serial killer crime sprees that involve graphic images as displayed in so many of today’s television shows and movies (like the recent “The Snowman” movie) or mysteries that contain side relationships or scenarios between main characters that have nothing to do with the actual mystery.

“…Orient Express” reminds me a lot of the board game “Clue”: you sit down with the crime scene, you gather the evidence, make your predictions, and discover the killer… nothing more.

Cinematically, this film has its pluses and minuses. Although the performances are fairly solid by most of this all star cast, there are so many of them that none receive sufficient screen time. This was a slight disappoinment for me. The plot is strong, but it moves VERY quickly, and if you are not careful—especially if you are unfamiliar with the book or the original film—there are a lot of complex connections, backstories and predictions about the suspects. You will likely miss some of it, as I certainly did.

The overall setting and effects are absolutely amazing. The details of the inside of the train and even the surrounding European mountains are breathtaking, when they appear.

Content concerns

Here is a list of the some of the objectionable content to be aware of in this film:

Profanity/Language: The count is as follows: G*d-d**n (2), Good G*d (1), My G*d (1), G*d (1), d**n (4), and h*ll (4). Someone mentions they know what it feels like to have someone in their bedroom (an innuendo). There are a few racial slurs uttered by characters. The word “Hebe” is used for Jew, and someone asks why they aren’t dead yet (the time period is during the rise of the Nazis). The word Kraut (the derogatory version) is used referring to Germans, and blacks—“A guinea's a guinea.”

Violence: A thief runs into Poirot’s cane sticking out of the Wailing Wall and falls. A woman hits a man who tries to grab her bags. One character violently attacks people who try to take a picture of him. We see an overhead shot of Ratchett’s dead body with some blood coming from his chest. There is a flashback involving a kidnapping of a child, and we witness the reactions of the parents and hear that the mother (with her unborn child) committied suicide, and so did the father (nothing is shown). Poirot and a figure fall through a train trestle. We see one character with a knife in their back. Poirot is kicked out a train compartment. A character has a door slammed into him. A man is shot in the shoulder, and he holds the wound, and we see some blood on his hand. One character is hit over the head with a pistol. There are flashbacks to the kidnapping of the child (mentioned earlier), as well as to the stabbing of Ratchett by the murderer.

Sex: A character asks for a place where he and a young woman (a prostitute) can have a place alone for 20 minutes to come to some sort of agreement. A woman mentions she has to have certain “needs” met. There are references to different rendezvous locations for sex.

Other: Characters are seen drinking alcohol. There are a couple characters who are addicted to barbital (a barbiturate drug)—or simply use it.

Spiritual Issues

One of the central themes that “Orient Express” focuses on (at least in this version) is the topic of “revenge vs. justice.” Without giving too much of the ending away (no spoilers, I promise), the murderer’s motive for killing Ratchett was to avenge a crime that had been committed many years before. The murderer is so convincing that even Poirot has to stop and think about for a moment.

So I ask you this, brothers and sisters, when has it ever been OUR right to take matters into our own hands? Is not our God, the God of all Creation? Is He not all knowing? Is His plan not perfect? Is His TIMING not PERFECT? His righteousness is just! Only God can decide who deserves punishment and who deserves redemption, not us.

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” —1 Peter 3:9

For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” —Hebrews 10:30

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. —Romans 12:2

Learn about the Creator of mankind and the universe

What is GOD’S PROVIDENCE? Answer

What is the SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD? Answer

What is “the fear of the Lord”? and Why is it important? Answer

What is HUMILITY? Answer

What is the “fury” of God? Answer

What is the “anger of God”? Answer

What are Judgments of God? Answer

Love of God—including answer to the question: Is it really true that God hates the sin, but loves the sinner?

When it comes to justice, be patient. Speaking from personal experience, I know what it’s like when it feels as if the world is looking down on you and you feel you’re being stepped on. If you are a true follower of Christ, God is with you and works on your behalf. His plan is just and good. And when we are wronged, He is by our side, standing by us, fighting for us, with plans to prosper us, if we humbly seek Him in all things.

“Murder On the Orient Express” is an interesting take on a classic “whodunit” train-ride mystery—full of paranoia, suspense, and some relatively strong performances and solid filmmaking. With the exception of some violence (which is relatively tame by today’s standards and some language (and some minor sexual dialog), is definitely one of less objectionable movie choices for the holiday season for teens and adults (but not kids).

  • Violence: Heavy
  • Profane language: Moderately Heavy
  • Vulgar/Crude language: None
  • Nudity: None
  • Sex: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—Wow, this was a blockbuster. My wife usually doesn’t go for this genre but said she’d see it again. It had a bare minimum of language, acting was impeccable and Hercule was the consummate gentleman.

Wouldn’t recommend it for children, only because it requires concentration to follow it. Great date night movie, can’t say anything in case you are unaware of the ending.

CG and setting were above par as well.

A Large audience, mostly boomers.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Dennis, age 64 (USA)
Positive—I love movies to make me feel and care about what has happened on the screen. I left the cinema in a quite poignant mood. In a way, the murder on the train is only a subplot of the movie. The heart of the movie is the unfolding of the pain and loss that stems from a previous hideous crime. Pain and loss that has twisted the heart of the killer. What Poirot says is true, the murder happens due to the “fracture of a human soul.”

I was sad because as a father I felt the pain left by the initial crime.
I was sad because it reminded me of the horror that injustice is.
I was sad because the killer seems to have been a decent person before unforgiveness and the need for revenge distorted their life.

I was also sad because there were no alternatives given to unforgiveness and revenge. Yes, this is a secular movie based on a secular book so it would have been surprising to see a Christian outlook (forgiving because we are forgiven and relying on God to dispense both justice and mercy) presented. But that does not make me wish that some hope could have been put into sad situation.

The reviewer makes good comments about the quality of the movie. It is a pity that we really only get to see cameos from some fine actors, but that what happens when you have so many suspects to cover!

A thought to leave you with: Was justice done at the end of the movie? What would you do in Poirot’s position?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Ashley, age 50 (Australia)
Positive—I took my 13 year old daughter with me to see this. Due to recent comments, I wasn’t sure how she would keep up, but she said she understood everything and enjoyed the movie. I was very pleased. I thought the character of Poirot was very well done. I personally didn’t find it hard to follow—although if you step out for a bathroom break you will miss something!

The ending was super—not the revealing of the murderer, but what to do about it. I walked away from this movie trying to decide what I would have done in Poirot’s place. I believe that’s a good movie—when you leave thinking about it and putting yourself in the place of the characters.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Miranda, age 42
Comments from young people
Neutral—How does one craft the perfect crime story? Depending on who you ask, you would probably hear one name in particular time after time: Agatha Christie. Laurels and achievements surround her name like Black Friday shoppers around a discounted 70” television: her works, behind the Bible and those of Shakespeare, are the best-selling in history, her 1939 novel And Then There Were None is among the top ten bestselling novels of all time, and her play “The Mousetrap” holds the record for longest-running play ever. It is most likely, therefore, that you’ve heard of Murder on the Orient Expressit’s considered her quintessential novel and a prime example of exceptional detective fiction.

In 1974 it was made into a film and received by the general public with great enthusiasm, and in 2010 Acorn TV produced a fantastic adaption of the novel as an episode in their “Agatha Christie’s Poirot” series. Now the tale has come to life yet again. Truth be told, I’m rather impressed with the restraint Hollywood has shown—only three versions produced in over forty years! The Spider-Man franchise should take some serious notes. See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Travis, age 16 (USA)

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