For bibliophiles fed on Agatha Christie's whodunits, the 1930 classic 'Murder on the Orient Express' is one engaging ride.
Though brought onto screen before (Sidney Lumet's 1974 adaptation) Kenneth Branagh's latest addition provides for another delectable dekko at the mustachioed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.
Branagh's Poirot, at his detective best, puts his grey cells into use to ferret out the person from among 13 first class passengers who has killed a co-passenger on the train. Having left Istanbul in a frenzy of anticipated excitement, the train is caught in a blizzard and brought to a halt. And Branagh has you glued.
It's a businessman who is found murdered with multiple stab injuries.
Branagh faithfully recreates the quaint old-world charm and exotic romanticism of Dame Agatha's novels, while also making cleverly inspired deviations of the first scene in order to establish his aged Poirot, providing enough chutzpah to build the tempo.
Brimming with pointed one-liners Poirot is famous for, Murder on the Oriental Express has the Belgian bringing everyone under his suspicion. How Poirot goes about his job with sharp skills forms the rest of the scintillating, edge-of-the-seat thriller, which has Branagh's stamp to it.
Yes, as the film veers towards its denouement and turns more of a cross examination with Poirot's conclusions, it sags a bit. Yet, with all the niggles, Branagh's Murder makes for a great weekend watch, especially for fans for murder mysteries and detective genre.