Film Review: Murder on the Orient Express
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Kenneth Branagh brings Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express to the big screen with a meticulous eye for detail and a star-studded cast but the story is by no means full steam ahead. Set on a steam train stranded in the midst of expansive, snowy mountains, Murder on the Orient Express showcases some incredibly striking scenery emphasised by Branagh’s natural ability to frame a shot. In fact, the director and star ensured that all elements of the film’s technical makeup were completed with the upmost precision and the result is visually stunning. It is clear that a great deal of thought went into every prop, set design and costume, so much so that nothing ever felt out of place – unless, of course, it was meant to. With this came a heightened level of authenticity, guaranteeing viewers are completely immersed in the fictional world. A 1930s steam train is not something every 21st century person has experienced but Branagh’s construction of the film’s set and the way the camera captures it is, no doubt, the next best thing. The array of creative and captivating camera shots used ensure that, despite being trapped in one location for the majority of the film, the setting never gets boring and is in fact one of the most interesting elements of the film. With this exciting setting, one would expect an equally exciting story. The label ‘murder-mystery’ carries with it connotations of suspense and enigma and, being a classic story not shy of onscreen adaptations, Branagh faced the job of giving Murder on the Orient Express a new lease of life and reinvigorating the suspense pre-weakened by the familiarity of the story.
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