Gonger Reviews: Murder on the Orient Express
Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
There has been a murder!!! Murder of the Cinema and I, Inspector - No! Chief Inspector! Yeah, Chief Inspector Gonger has been tasked to find the guilty and bring justice to the cinematic world! Let's get to it then!
Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Daisy Ridley, Judy Dench, Leslie Odom Jr,. Tom Bateman, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Johnny Depp, and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Synopsis: It's murder most foul aboard the Orient Express and it's up to the world's greatest detective, Hercule Poirot, to unmask the dastardly villain!
Writing: Ah ha! Our first suspect is the famed writer Michael Green, who just walked away - quite smugly might I add - from co-penning the epic Blade Runner 2049. Here he tackles the famed Agatha Christie novel to which I must say: my hats off to you, sir. He takes great care in introducing our lead Poirot and brings life to the character. The other characters? Not so much. Sure, the top billed cast gets their time in the sun but some of the secondaries are given the ole' heave-ho into the back seat, leaving the key players to pick up the slack. Luckily, the plot is ever-so-thick in this flick that you forget all about that issue - but I am the world's greatest critic! Nothing escapes my keen observations! 1.5/2
Cinematography: Huge mountain vistas and masterful location shooting bring a feast for the eye. I would applaud Haris Zambarloukos for this massive effort, if I didn’t think it was all CGI. But then again I’ve actually been to Jerusalem (cool place, great falafel) so I know that was real so perhaps my suspicions may be out to lunch. No, that can’t be! I am the world's greatest critic! I eat their lunch! I digress. Most of the locations are indeed CGI but it looks good so I’ll give it a pass this time. This flick was filmed on a real-enough looking train set thing though, for that I am certain! Which brings us to how innovative the camera work actually is. Not once did it feel claustrophobic or too tight. By using overhead shots and a keen eye for depth of field, the film is quite cinematic. Lighting, however, looks unnatural in much of the film and it was massively distracting. I don’t know what they were thinking with that. Or, wait, yes, I do! I am the world's greatest critic! 1.5/2
Editing: It was an hour and fifty-five minutes and normally I’d say that's great but today it's just good. Some scenes are cut too short, some run too long. The material is gold so why not let it play out, ref? On the whole, this flick was the right length so why complain? Because it doesn’t feel like it's a finished piece! The pacing is a bit disjointed and I get the idea that some things where left on the cutting room floor. I have a theory, however, that Mick Audsley is not to blame for this travesty! No, it was those censors and studio executives who wanted to push that PG rating. When I was just a young Gonger, a PG rating meant we were going to see a gallon of blood squirt out of a headless corpse! These days, man. They get me down sometimes. Be good to each other. The holidays are coming up. And it is a holiday movie... about murder. Parents got to explain what's up instead of media having to shy away from the horrors of the world. It does flow nicely, though. 1.5/2
Acting: Michelle Pfeiffer is in this one and she kicks ass again! This time she goes on the hunt and attacks each scene viciously! She is unstoppable! For the most part the whole cast brings their 'A' game but when you're working with the shockingly talented Kenneth Branagh, one must put a bit of pep in one's step. Branagh steps in effortlessly as the world's greatest detective, bringing us a very rich character. It was the role he was born to play! Or, was that Henry IV? Or Hamlet...or...this is just like every role he was born to play! Now, Daisy Ridley. Hmmm... This is the first flick I’ve seen her in post-Star Wars and I’m unsure if she is just a flash in the pan. I also think this flick wasn’t juicy enough for her to really shine. It is a big cast. Time will tell. We do have The Last Jedi to think about. I mean, who isn't excited for the next Star War am I right!?!? Not me! Star Trek is better! Sike!!! Yeah, the acting, though... 1.5/2
Directing: This is where Branagh belongs! In the driver's seat and in the lead! The flick can then transcend... that sounds to hippy dippy and theatre-y. He becomes the flick and by osmosis the flick becomes him. Yeah, let's keep this scientifical here folks. For real though, when this guy dives in he goes in neck deep. It's a character drama and that is another strength of his to not only work a scene but get the best out of the actors around him. It must have something to do with his own mastery of acting. Is he playing it a bit too safe for the studio though? If he is then he’s doing a good job at hiding it - because he's the world's greatest actor! 2/2
So who is guilty of this murder? It's the studio and the censors, dude! Read the review again, geez. 8/10
Allan Stringer @Gonger_Reviews
Allan Stringer (if that's his real name) hails from the Mutara Nebula and has travelled through space and time to check out the only thing us pathetic humans have to offer: movies. Marvel at his intelligence!