As a huge fan of murder mysteries, I was more than excited to get my hands on Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. This was my third Agatha Christie book so far, preceded by Hallowe’en Party and The ABC Murders and I can safely say this was my favorite. The book started off slow but once I passed the 6th chapter, I was hooked.
When I had found out about the movie in early May, I eagerly prepared for the date. The movie had a star filled cast and a provided a great chance to reconnect with old friends, so I counted down the minutes till I could see it.
To say I was pleased was an understatement. Both me and my friend (who has never read the book) thought of it as a great movie and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to see it. It’s twist ending came as a shock to anyone in the theater and the actors did a splendid job. Now, if you’re not interested in spoilers, look away.
The base of the story is this; a man is murdered on a train, stabbed 12 times, each of different strengths. The train is stopped by a snowdrift and there is no way the murderer could escape. Onboard the train, a famous detective, Hercule Poirot, must discover which of his fellow passengers is the murderer.
Poirot discovers a connection between all of the passengers, which is the murder of little Daisy Armstrong. After analyzing the details, Poirot comes to the conclusion that makes Christie’s novel take the prize for as the best revelation in murder history. Each of the passengers took a turn in stabbing the man named Casetti, who murdered Daisy. In the final scene of the film, Poirot informs the police a false story of the murder, allowing the 12 passengers to go free.
One of the flaws in both the film and book is that there are too many names to keep up with. Some of the characters are as follows: Poirot himself and Mary Debenham/Colonel(Dr. in the film) Arbuthnot. These characters and connections I personally found the most interesting and the ones that differ the most between the book and film.
In the book, we don’t see Hercule Poirot as a human being if you say. But in the film, we dive into the character more than in the book, something I really enjoyed. The first scene revolves around Poirot solving another mystery before his train ride. He mentions to someone that there is no in between right and wrong. This becomes quite important to Poirot later in the film, when he has to choose to act with his head or his heart.
Poirot takes on the train’s case. His skill and timing work well, and his delivery of lines in the film were great, for he was just so blunt at the perfect times. But his most powerful scene was the revelation, where he discovers that he finally found the in between of right and wrong. The passengers murdered Casetti as revenge for his murder of Daisy Armstrong. He then gives them a gun and asks if the passengers would shoot him. Miss Hubbard, who is secretly Daisy’s grandmother, attempts to shoot herself in grief. She discovers that there were no bullets in the gun. This was a test by Poirot, to see if anyone would try and keep him silent.
This scene, not included in the book, was like a tender bite of food. It was quite satisfying to see Poirot take the position as human and it added extra punch to when Poirot choses to lie to save the passengers from imprisonment.
But enough about him: let’s get to Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr! Starring alongside Daisy Ridley, the two play lovers Mary Debenham and Colonel/Dr Arbuthnot. While the book manages to catch glimpses of their relationship, the movie brings it out even more.
The movie sticks to the time in which the events take place, which was very pleasing. Statements are made towards Arbuthnot about his race, something not included in the book. In one scene, Mary pours her red wine into her white, as a man makes a comment how races should be separated like red and white wines. Next to MacQueen, Ratchet’s assistant, the two are seen as the most suspicious. Mary is withholding information about her past with the Armstrong’s and Arbuthnot refuses to let any negative statements about her be said.
In a scene not included in the book, Arbuthnot fires at Poirot after he accuses Mary. Arbuthnot takes all the blame and attempts to kill Poirot but misses after a timely shift in the train’s weight. After this, Poirot discovers the truth, but Arbuthnot was willing to take full blame of the murder for Mary.
Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. As a huge fan of the book, I’m probably the best and the worst critic; totally biased for my love of this story, but very willing to call out the movie if it didn’t follow the book’s plot line.