Murder on the Boring Express: A Movie Not to Waste Your Time On

By Ella Illg, Staff Writer

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The movie adaptation of the famous mystery novel Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie came out on Fri., Nov. 10, and after seeing it for myself, the Rotton Tomatoes 58% review began to make more sense. The movie takes place in 1937, where several people, including famous fictional detective Hercules Poirot, are travelling out of Jerusalem. After someone mysteriously dies in a closed off train compartment, Poirot decides he must find the killer.

The movie wasn’t good or bad. The plot was fine, as it was taken from the famous novel of the same name, and the characters were interesting, but undeveloped; some lines were delivered horribly. They felt more like characters out of Clue- basic and one dimensional. I could give this a pass, as the movie isn’t so much about the characters. It is more about what they do- but, when the entire movie hinges on several characters’ tragic backstories, you begin to feel nothing for the characters, and it becomes difficult to create an interesting mystery.

Another issue was the actors. Johnny Depp played one of the main characters, and it was very distracting to have a huge blockbuster actor surrounded by B-listers. If you want your cast to be B-list actors, stay consistent. Don’t have Johnny Depp and Judi Dench alongside William Dafoe and Josh Gad. Some actors have lost their ability to become characters. In fact, I don’t remember Depp’s character’s name at all; I just remember that Johnny Depp was in it. The only enjoyable part about Depp being in the movie was that after the movie was over my friend said, “I’m mad he was in it, but I’m glad that he died,” and a stranger replying, “damn straight.” In the light of all of these celebrity sexual assault stories coming out, I wasn’t surprised that wife-abuser Johnny Depp didn’t go over well with the crowds.

During the entire running time of this self-dubbed thriller/mystery, I gasped one time, and of course it was a poor false flag. 30 minutes before the movie ended, they had a recap of how all the characters could be the killer and their motives, making me feel like I was watching the intro to Glee. With the wrap-up at the very end before the mystery was solved, it made me feel like I didn’t have to waste my time by sitting through the first two-thirds of the movie.

When the answer was finally revealed, I felt nothing beyond a “Huh, okay,” and a somewhat satisfied feeling. The whole film is melodramatic, but it doesn’t give you any emotion. The movie felt like the spark notes version of the book- over-explanatory, quick and cutting most of the fluff.

There is one thing I can praise this movie for: it was quick, with a run time of just under two hours. A lesser director probably would’ve found some way to drag it out even more. The characters didn’t even get on the train until 45 minutes in, and there wasn’t a murder until 55 minutes in. With a movie like this, it was difficult not to count the minutes. I wasn’t bored, but I had no issue peeling my eyes away to check my phone.

The cinematography was boring, and sometimes there were weird shots and angles just for the sake of there being weird shots and angles. Every establishing shot looked like it was from an Assassin’s Creed trailer. Every single shot that wasn’t directly focused on the train was completely animated with CGI. The music in the background was nothing beyond the suspenseful violins that are so predictable they feels like they’re on a thriller check list. The only thing that wasn’t awfully foreseeable was the mystery itself, which I would give credit for if it wasn’t from an 83-year-old book.

This is probably why the movie had a worse opening weekend at the box office than the poorly made cash cow Daddy’s Home 2: Mo Daddies Mo Problems. If you want to understand the plot and don’t want to read the book, spend your time watching the 1974 version. I give this movie a 4/10.

1 Comment

One Response to “Murder on the Boring Express: A Movie Not to Waste Your Time On”

  1. alum on November 14th, 2017 9:39 pm

    I didn’t realize willem dafoe was a B-lister

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