‘Murder on the Orient Express’ holds steady with excellent cast, derails everywhere else

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For whatever reason, I typically love or hate movies — there’s rarely a feeling in between.

But, I found that balance with “Murder on the Orient Express,” which created a somewhat satisfying movie experience.

The film, based on Agatha Christie’s wildly popular novel of the same name, is a murder mystery that takes place on a train in Europe. After a man is killed, one of the world’s greatest detectives, who also happens to be on the train, steps in to help solve the case.

The movie features a wide assortment of Hollywood elite, including Johnny Depp (Ratchett), Judi Dench (Princess Dragomiroff), Josh Gad (Hector MacQueen), Willem Dafoe (Gerhard Hardman), Penelope Cruz (Pilar Estravados) and Kenneth Branagh (Hercule Poirot).

The star-studded cast took a relatively lifeless script and created a decently engaging film. Even more, Kenneth Branagh perfectly tackled the role of Hercule Poirot, imagining an eccentric and completely enjoyable character truly worthy of the big screen.

In theory, the movie was meant to be a warm, sophisticated adaption of the novel. In reality, it was a solid watch that left me uttering the word “average” more times than not.

Critically, “Murder on the Orient Express” was flat. It felt as if director Kenneth Branagh put all of his chips into the characters and put very little into the quality of the movie.

But personally, I thought it was a fun “rainy weekend” movie.

I thought Rottentomatoes rated this one almost perfectly at 58 percent.

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