Murder On The Orient Express (12A)

Thriller (2017)
114mins Malta/US

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Depp, Lesley Odom Jr, Willem Dafoe, Josh Gad, Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Dame Judi Dench
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writer(s): Michael Green
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Hercule Poirot is on holiday when he receives an urgent communication to return to London. Thanks to his good friend Bouc, the plucky Belgian secures a cabin on board the lavish Orient Express where he is approached by a shady gangster called Samuel Ratchett. The thug believes his life may be in danger and he implores Poirot to intervene. As the train chugs along tracks laden with heavy snow, there is a tragic disturbance that requires Poirot to test his little grey cells to apprehend a murderer.

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LondonNet Film Review
Murder On The Orient Express (12A)

The little grey cells of moustachioed sleuth Hercule Poirot - and cinema audiences unfamiliar with Agatha Christie's fiendish 1934 novel - are rigorously tested in Kenneth Branagh's handsome reimagining of the snowbound murder mystery. Lovingly shot on 65mm celluloid to capture the splendour of the opulent production design, this beautifully tailored Murder On The Orient Express welcomes a first class passenger list of Oscar winners and nominees from both sides of the Atlantic. Screenwriter Michael Green couples himself to Christie's plot, which is precision-engineered to achieve a full head of steam before a satisfying final twist that challenges Poirot's assertion: "There is right, there is wrong - nothing in between..."

Murder On The Orient Express. Copyright: 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. Caption: Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot in Murder On The Orient Express, directed by Kenneth Branagh. Photo: Nicola Dove. All Rights Reserved. En route, the script adds a fresh prelude at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, which springs the detective's steel trap mind, and fleshes out bigotry and paranoia in the calm before the Second World War. A completely new suspect is introduced to rolling stock along with a character from a different Christie case, Hercule Poirot's Christmas, plus a snowdrift near Vinkovci has been amplified - courtesy of slick digital effects - to an avalanche that impacts carriages as they trundle over a viaduct bridge.

Poirot (Branagh) is on holiday in Turkey when he receives an urgent communication to return to London. Good friend Bouc (Tom Bateman), who is director of business on the Orient Express, secures the wily Belgian a cabin next to slippery gangster Samuel Ratchett (Johnny Depp). "I would like to hire you to watch my back until I get somewhere safe," growls the imperilled hoodlum. Poirot rejects the offer - "I do not like your face!" - and as the train chugs through the Dinaric Alps, a murderer strikes. Suspects include Ratchett's secretary Hector MacQueen (Josh Gad), governess Mary Debenham (Daisy Ridley), former soldier Dr Arbuthnot (Leslie Odom Jr), attention-famished widow Caroline Hubbard (Michelle Pfeiffer), Princess Natalia Dragomiroff (Dame Judi Dench) and her maid Hildegarde Schmidt (Olivia Colman), and missionary Pilar Estravados (Penelope Cruz).

Murder On The Orient Express harks back to a bygone era of lavish period filmmaking. Branagh shoots inside a movable locomotive and four carriages, built from scratch to allow his camera to glide in seemingly impossible directions. By opening up the central location, the film sacrifices claustrophobia and tension at the altar of directorial brio. The titular conundrum is elegantly bookmarked by a record-breaking five-minute Steadicam shot along the platform in Istanbul, which follows the Belgian detective as he boards the train and encounters fellow passengers, and a luxurious parting shot inside the carriages as a morally conflicted Poirot prepares to disembark. Branagh sports impressive facial hair and teases out his protagonist's inner turmoil, while co-stars perfect inscrutable glares and furrowed brows as they pull the wool over our eyes. "Vice is where the Devil finds his darlings," sermonises one character. Satan has plenty of impeccably coiffed fallen angels to choose from here.

- Sam Cannon

Murder On The Orient Express. Copyright: 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. Caption: Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot in Murder On The Orient Express, directed by Kenneth Branagh. Photo: Nicola Dove. All Rights Reserved.

London Cinemas

From Friday 16th February
To Thursday 22nd February

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Rest of UK and Irish Cinemas

Listed in alphabetical order by city/place name followed by cinema name.

From Friday 23rd February
To Thursday 1st March

- Andover, Odeon Andover
- Aylesbury, Odeon Aylesbury
- Ayr, Odeon Ayr
- Banbury, Odeon Banbury
- Barrow-in-Furness, Vue Barrow (Apollo)
- Basingstoke, Odeon Basingstoke
- Basingstoke, Vue Basingstoke Festival Place
- Bath, Odeon Bath
- Bedford, Vue Bedford
- Belfast, Odeon Belfast
- Beverley, Parkway Cinema
- Bicester, Vue Bicester
- Birmingham, Empire Birmingham Great Park
- Birmingham, Odeon Birmingham New Street
- Bishop's Stortford, Empire Bishop's Stortford
- Blackpool, Odeon Blackpool
- Bootle, Odeon Liverpool Switch Island
- Bournemouth, Odeon Bournemouth BH2
- Bracknell, Odeon Bracknell
- Bradford, Odeon Leeds-Bradford
- Bridgend, Odeon Bridgend
- Brighton, Odeon Brighton
- Bristol, Odeon Bristol
- Bristol, Vue Bristol Longwell Green
- Bromborough, Odeon Bromborough
- Bury, Vue Bury The Rock
- Camberley, Vue Camberley
- Canterbury, Odeon Canterbury
- Cardiff, Odeon Cardiff
- Carlisle, Vue Carlisle
- Carmarthen, Vue Carmarthen (Apollo)
- Catterick Garrison, Empire Catterick Garrison
- Cavan Town, Odeon Cavan
- Chatham, Odeon Chatham
- Chelmsford, Odeon Chelmsford
- Clydebank, Empire Clydebank
- Colchester, Odeon Colchester
- Coventry, Odeon Coventry
- Cramlington, Vue Cramlington
- Crewe, Odeon Crewe
- Cwmbran, Vue Cwmbran
- Darlington, Odeon Darlington
- Derby, Odeon Derby
- Doncaster, Vue Doncaster
- Dorchester, Odeon Dorchester
- Dublin, Odeon Blanchardstown
- Dublin, Odeon Charlestown
- Dublin, Odeon Coolock
- Dublin, Odeon Point Village
- Dudley, Odeon Dudley Merry Hill
- Dundee, Odeon Dundee
- Dunfermline, Odeon Dunfermline
- East Kilbride, Odeon East Kilbride
- Eastleigh, Vue Eastleigh
- Edinburgh, Odeon Edinburgh Fort Kinnaird
- Edinburgh, Odeon Edinburgh Lothian Road
- Edinburgh, Odeon Edinburgh Wester Hailes
- Edinburgh, Vue Edinburgh Ocean Terminal
- Epsom, Odeon Epsom
- Exeter, Odeon Exeter
- Exmouth, Savoy
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- Gateshead, Vue Gateshead
- Glasgow, Odeon Glasgow Springfield Quay
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- Grays, Vue Thurrock
- Guildford, Odeon Guildford
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- Huddersfield, Odeon Huddersfield
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- Inverness, Vue Inverness
- Ipswich, Empire Ipswich
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- Kilmarnock, Odeon Kilmarnock
- Lancaster, Vue Lancaster
- Leamington Spa, Vue Leamington Spa (Apollo)
- Leeds, Vue Leeds The Light
- Leicester, Odeon Leicester
- Limerick, Odeon Limerick
- Lincoln, Odeon Lincoln
- Liverpool, Odeon Liverpool ONE
- Livingston, Vue Livingston
- Llanelli, Odeon Llanelli
- Loughborough, Odeon Loughborough
- Maidenhead, Odeon Maidenhead
- Maidstone, Odeon Maidstone
- Manchester, Odeon Manchester Great Northern
- Manchester, Odeon Trafford Centre
- Manchester, Vue Manchester Printworks
- Mansfield, Odeon Mansfield
- Milton Keynes, Odeon Milton Keynes Stadium
- Naas, Odeon Naas
- Newark, Odeon Newark
- Newbridge, Odeon Newbridge
- Newbury, Vue Newbury
- Newcastle-under-Lyme, Vue Newcastle-under-Lyme
- Northwich, Odeon Northwich
- Norwich, Odeon Norwich
- Norwich, Vue Norwich
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- Oldham, Odeon Oldham
- Orpington, Odeon Orpington
- Oxford, Odeon Oxford George Street
- Oxford, Vue Oxford
- Paignton, Vue Torbay (Apollo)
- Plymouth, Vue Plymouth
- Portlaoise, Odeon Portlaoise
- Portsmouth, Odeon Port Solent
- Portsmouth, Vue Portsmouth
- Preston, Odeon Preston
- Renfrew, Odeon Braehead
- Rochdale, Odeon Rochdale
- Salford, Vue Manchester Lowry
- Salisbury, Odeon Salisbury
- Scunthorpe, Vue Scunthorpe
- Sheffield, Odeon Sheffield
- Sheringham, Sheringham Little Theatre
- Slough, Empire Slough
- Southampton, Odeon Southampton
- Southend-on-Sea, Odeon Southend
- Southport, Vue Southport
- Stillorgan, Odeon Stillorgan
- Stirling, Vue Stirling
- Stoke-on-Trent, Odeon Stoke
- Stroud, Vue Stroud (Apollo)
- Sunderland, Empire Sunderland
- Sutton Coldfield, Empire Sutton Coldfield
- Swadlincote, Odeon Swadlincote
- Swansea, Odeon Swansea
- Swansea, Vue Swansea
- Swindon, Empire Swindon Greenbridge
- Tamworth, Odeon Tamworth
- Taunton, Odeon Taunton
- Telford, Odeon Telford
- Thanet, Vue Westwood Cross
- Thornton-Cleveleys, Vue Cleveleys
- Trowbridge, Odeon Trowbridge
- Tunbridge Wells, Odeon Tunbridge Wells
- Wallsend, Odeon Silverlink
- Walthamstow, Empire Walthamstow
- Warrington, Odeon Warrington
- Waterford, Odeon Waterford
- Watford, Vue Watford
- West Bromwich, Odeon West Bromwich
- Weston-super-Mare, Odeon Weston-Super-Mare
- Wigan, Empire Wigan
- Worcester, Odeon Worcester
- Worcester, Vue Worcester
- Wrexham, Odeon Wrexham

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