Murder on the Orient Express understands what makes the detective Hercule Poirot special. Unlike other detectives, Poirot tries to understand the character behind the crime. It is here that Murder on the Orient Express shines.
Kenneth Branagh doesn’t spend a whole lot of time on Poirot as a character. He has a fun personality but he has no motivations beyond a simple love of discovering the murderer. The other characters on the train pick up the slack, as they are all diverse and interesting to watch. From Josh Gad to Daisy Ridley, all could have a motivation to killing and all are fun. Though the movie tends to focus on some characters over others and we forget about them.
There is a simple joy in trying to follow along with Poirot in discovering the killer. You get the same evidence that he does, so the film challenges you to try to come to the same conclusions that he does. Sometimes you make the same conclusions he does. Other times, Poirot makes leaps make you feel like he pulled it out of nowhere. Sometimes it even feels like they added scenes to make the film more exciting, like a chase scene and a fight scene.
Murder on the Orient Express is a harmless murder mystery. It focuses not only on the evidence of the crime, but also on the character of the perpetrator. Every actor in the movie does a good job of portraying their character in an interesting manner. Though I wish some characters got a little more screentime. Still, its a solid movie that will offer two hours of fun.