Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Summary: Just after midnight, the Orient Express is stopped by snowdrift. In the morning, the train’s passengers learn fellow passenger, Samuel Ratchett is dead in his compartment, and one of them is assumed to be the murderer. World-class detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer before the train arrives at their next stop.
The Perfect Murder Mystery?
As much as I love a good murder mystery, I actually don’t read them often. You know what they say about too much of a good thing, right? Well, this is my first time experiencing Agatha Christie. I am happy to report that unlike my first Jane Austen experience and my first Neil Gaiman experience, my Agatha Christie experience was overall quite pleasant.
I totally get why Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. Although the story is a detective mystery, I thoroughly enjoyed the injection of humor throughout the story. There were quite a few times where I literally laughed out loud. Prime example was Poirot telling Ratchett that he wouldn’t take his case because Poirot didn’t like Rachett’s face. That had me rolling, and I’ll never forget it.
Another random funny moment was Dr. Constantine daydreaming about his mistress in the middle of a murder investigation. It was unexpected and caught me off guard for a minute. It definitely made me chuckle though. Murder on the Orient Express is a mystery with an element of humor. I also enjoyed that murder and mystery were in nearly every aspect of the book.
Yes, there was the murder at hand to solve, but there was also the previous murder and subsequent tragedies that “inspired” the current crime. It begs the existential question: “Is it a crime to commit a crime against someone who has previously committed (and gotten away with) a crime?”
A Very Un-Special Episode of Belgian Monk
While reading Murder on the Orient Express, I got more of a Sherlock Holmes (minus the heroin) vibe from Hercule Poirot. However, from the first scene in the Murder on the Orient Express movie, I got the feeling Hercule Poirot was the other defective detective. I was initially excited to see another interpretation of Monk, but those dreams quickly shattered by this literal train wreck of an adaptation. Where shall I begin with all the ways this adaptation was a major disappointment?
How about we start with the overabundance of Poirot. Is this what happens when directors star in their own movie? They shameless center themselves in everything. I hated every minute of Poirot staring at a photo and crying about “Katherine.” It wasn’t even as endearing as Adrian Monk pining for his late wife Trudy. It really served no purpose in the story and took away precious time that could have been spent on the intriguing mystery at hand.
Although I felt this Murder on the Orient Express movie did no justice to Christie’s story, I appreciated the multicultural cast and the cinematography. The movie was the opposite of stellar, but it was visually stunning.
I really enjoyed reading Murder on the Orient Express. Now, I want to read other Agatha Christie mysteries. I didn’t see the twist coming, but I had my suspicions of some of the characters from the beginning. I liked that everyone seemed innocent and guilty at the same time. My only disappointment was how the story ended. The end came abruptly and didn’t make much sense.
The movie had the opposite effect since it was full of unnecessary inconsistencies from the book. I understand books and movies are different mediums, but the literary license taken for this movie is too much. Any fan of Murder on the Orient Express would probably agree. Like most avid fans of Murder on the Orient Express, I absolutely hated this adaptation. It was irritating to watch a star-studded cast absolutely butcher this witty and intriguing story under the helm of Kenneth Branagh. Rating: Page Turner / Burnt Popcorn