Two weeks back, I went to see Murder On The Orient Express. It was totally unplanned and on a night I simply thought it would be quite useful to get lost in some great film storytelling and to stop my mind from spinning for a bit as there was a lot going on in there.
The first brief reviews I could find all stated it’s visually stunning and so I thought some beautiful cinematography might just be what I need.
So there I was, sitting in the cinema waiting for the film to start. And I’ve waited a long time since the cinema was having some technical issues and at one point it seemed the screening’s gonna be canceled.
Oh yes – it was the one time after a very long time I went to the little cinema in my small town and felt like in a scene from Gilmore Girls or something – although to be fair, we do have a proper cinema, just somehow not always working as it turned out.
Luckily, the technical difficulties were soon resolved, the lights went off and there he was – Hercule Poirot.
…and the minute I saw him, all I could think was ‘Woah! This is some serious Movember game going on here!’ I suddenly understood why this film has set its release date for November… I mean – clearly, it can’t be a coincidence.
Honestly, if we are to talk about the lead characters of this film, then Poirot’s moustache is certainly one of them.
I’ve not had a problem with Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of Poirot as many of my friends and reviewers had – most of them huge fans of Agatha Christie. I’ve never been one. For me Poirot has always been just this strange guy on TV whom my grandparents used to watch. So that’s probably why.
However, I’ve been a huge fan of Kenneth Branagh for a long time. In fact, Branagh for me is just one of the finest actors out there. So everytime I hear of a film with him, I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be good one – if for nothing else, then for him. And if he’s also directing, then all the better!
And so yes, I loved his take on Poirot. I thought it’s original and funny and honestly, I’ve never seen a bad Branagh performance anyway. But that moustache… really?!…
That moustache is simply way over the top!! It’s so obviously fake and somehow very uncomfortable to watch (it’s awful!) which actually turns out to be very distracting. At least half of the time, all I could think about was how I wish I could take it off his face, instead of focusing on what was going on..
Sad isn’t it? Makes you wonder what the hell were they thinking in the Make Up department on this film..
Unfortunately, the moustache is not the only issue I’ve had with the make up..
Murder On The Orient Express’ strongest asset is without a doubt its cast. There are quite a few A-listers here and all of them are giving some great performances. It’s pretty much a concert of fine acting.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen Johnny Depp acting so well, proving once again what a good serious actor he can be (I just wish he would finally dump Jack Sparrow once and for all and save whatever there is left of his career).
And it’s also been a while since I’ve seen Michelle Pfeiffer anywhere for that matter. And god knows she’s brilliant here as always! (Oh, I just love her so much!)
But it’s these two – Depp and Pfeiffer – whom somehow I couldn’t really enjoy watching despite their fine performances.
I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching a vehicle for some faded Hollywood stars whom lost their charm with age. Don’t take me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with aging and I don’t mean to shame anyone or feel bad about their age! But looking at these two simply made me sad.
Where has all of the Johnny magic gone, I thought..? And where’s Michelle’s beauty..
Ten years ago, when Michelle made a comeback with Stardust I was so amazed how great she looked. Of course, ten years and especially at this age are a huge difference, I’m not stupid. But it would be totally different story if she just looked natural – I’m all about the aging with grace. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
I couldn’t help but think she just looked bad.. and a bit scary if you ask me. A bit like the witch she played in Stardust.. But NOT the pretty version.
Even Judi Dench – giving her standard (understand great) performance – one of the most fun in this film by the way – looked worse than she normally does.. And I’ve never thought she looked bad before! Clearly, something in the make up department just went terribly wrong..
Sure, it was all stylized and all.. but as somebody who does understand make up a little bit and watched some great artists work on a film set (and grew up with a Mom who used to be a Make Up artist even if not a film one), this was far from a job well done. Make up, if used, should make you look better. Not worse. And surely not ridiculous. Unless it’s part of the character, which I don’t think this was the case.
The good news is though, it’s the only bad thing about the film.
Even if the start is a little too slow for me, once things get moving (understand when somebody’s killed and the investigation starts) it all gets interesting and fun.
Visually it truly is nice, though a little too CGI for my taste, but surely will get you into the right winter mood. And probably make you crave some hot chocolate. (Especially if you’re lucky like me and the air-con in cinema is gonna be put on high.)
Truth is this would be a perfect Holiday movie to watch with your family while munching on some Christmas cookies. So the reason it wasn’t released around Christmas simply has to be the Movember moustache. There just CANT be any other explanation 😉
All in all, it’s not as fun as I anticipated, and you can easily give it a pass in the cinema and wait for it when it becomes available for home screening. Yet it’s still not a complete waste of time. Even if soon after all you’ll be able to remember will probably be just the moustache 😉