Director: Kenneth Branagh
Twentieth Century Fox/Genre Films/Kingberg
Kenneth Branagh’s remake of Murder On The Orient Express is probably the worst film I’ve ever seen on a big screen. I’m adding that movie-theatre experience because I watch a LOT of shit on TV and DVD. A lot. So it’s unlikely that this is the worst film I’ve ever seen, ever, though it’s easily the worst this year.
The opening scenes, ponderous, absurd, give some clue that this is not ever going to be great. But then it’s a 115-minute slow-crawl through boring scenes and a gratuitous waste of talent before the horror truly sets in; your time has been wasted, you have gained nothing, you are none the wiser, you can’t even begin to think why this film might have needed to happen. Presumably, it’s Branagh’s own homage, a love letter to a character and a story he loved. That doesn’t stop him from bludgeoning it.
His Poirot is from and for another age. And even though this has period setting the absurdity of Poirot’s pomposity and quirks just doesn’t play. That’s a problem – immediately.
But things deteriorate from there.
Cue the all-star cast, reduced to walk-ons, pretty much. Or sitting stiff in the dining car – assembled only to lend some air of gravitas to this Whodunnit/Whydunnit…
And it doesn’t work.
Because Branagh The Director is no better here than Branagh The Actor. His camera likes to shoot from above, likes to ponder, like to think its thinking of arty-angles, all of this is monstrous and distracting and aims to cover for the slow-burn that is ultimately a cruel and unusual torture.
Most distressing is Poirot’s mugging at the end where he leaks plans for a sequel.
I would crowd-fund the shit out of that not happening if that was a possibility.