Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

1hr 54mins

Having seen Albert Finney's rendition of Agatha Christie's famous detective in 1974's Murder on the Orient Express, it is one of the few times I was thankful for my shocking memory - I couldn't remember "whodunnit".
This time around, a very moustachioed version of Hercule Poirot is played (and directed) by Kenneth Branagh.
He is a Belgian detective, world famous for finding solutions to the most complicated criminal mysteries and, as the title suggests, there's been a murder. With one man down, the remaining first-class passengers on board the Orient Express are all suspects - each with their own motive for murder. Thankfully, Poirot is on board to piece together what becomes a complicated puzzle.
Branagh does an adequate job as the obsessive-compulsive genius, although, in comparison to the slightly unhinged charisma of previous Poirots (Finney, Peter Ustinov and David Suchet), Branagh's version is a little lacking.
Despite this minor quibble, the remaining ensemble is perfectly cast. Johnny Depp deliciously slides into a role that feels perfect for him, while Daisy Ridley and Leslie Odom Jr do commendable jobs.
Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad, Penelope Cruz, Derek Jacobi and Willem Dafoe all chip in with archetypal roles dripping with as much intrigue as their screen times allow.
Michael Green's (Blade Runner 2049, Logan) screenplay handles some fairly weighty exposition without an overkill of flashbacks, and the tight script keeps things tantalisingly just out of arms reach.
Ultimately, Branagh delivers a thrilling ride through the mountainous snowscapes, making this first-class ticket as opulent as it is chilling. And despite a few missteps, this train is still worth jumping aboard.
NZ Herald

Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer