It’s not like there was a huge shortage of Murder on the Orient Express adaptations. Agatha Christie’s 1934 Hercule Poirot novel was already turned into a 1974 film, with Sidney Lumet directing an all-star cast, including Albert Finney, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Lauren Bacall, and Ingrid Bergman (who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress); Alfred Molina starred in a CBS TV-movie version in 2001; and it was adapted into an extended episode of the acclaimed British series Agatha Christie’s Poirot (starring David Suchet) in 2010. But you know what they apparently say, anything that existed can and should be remade, so now we have a new version, with Kenneth Branagh both directing and starring as Christie’s durable Belgian detective.
He has, it seems, replicated Lumet’s “all-star cast” strategy; the ensemble here includes Dame Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Penelope Cruz, Sir Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., and Johnny Depp (doin’ a funny voice, ya know, ayyy). Take a look:
On one hand, it’s an oft-told tale for a reason, and anything that might get some people reading Christie is a win, and if Branagh can direct this thing with half the style and energy of Dead Again, it could be great. On the other hand, Johnny Depp, doin’ a funny voice, ya know, ayyy.