Taglines: Everyone is a Suspect.
Having just solved a mysterious theft in Jerusalem, the famed Belgian moustachioed detective, Hercule Poirot, is in need of balancing things in his life with a small vacation, in 1934 Istanbul. Instead, the vigilant detective will soon find himself aboard the luxurious Orient Express on a trip to Calais, sharing a carriage with an eclectic assortment of first-class travellers and an invisible murderer who walks unnoticed among them. When a sudden massive avalanche blocks the tracks, trapping the passengers in the locomotive, the gruesome murder of a commuter in his cabin will force Poirot to solve a conundrum where everyone is a suspect. In the end, who could be the killer?
Murder on the Orient Express is a 2017 American mystery drama film directed by Kenneth Branagh, with a screenplay by Michael Green, based on the 1934 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. The film stars Branagh as Hercule Poirot, with Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley in supporting roles. The film is the fourth adaptation of Christie’s novel, following the 1974 film, a 2001 TV film version, and a 2010 episode of the television series Agatha Christie’s Poirot. The plot follows Poirot, a world-renowned detective, as he seeks to solve a murder on the famous trans-European train in the 1930s.
Principal photography began in November 2016 in the United Kingdom; it is one of the few productions in recent decades to use 65mm film cameras. Murder on the Orient Express had its world premiere on November 2, 2017 at Royal Albert Hall in London, and was theatrically released in the United States on November 10, 2017, by 20th Century Fox.
As of January 22, 2018, Murder on the Orient Express has grossed $102.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $244.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $346.9 million, against a production budget of $55 million. In the United States and Canada, Murder on the Orient Express was released alongside Daddy’s Home 2, and was projected to gross around $20 million from 3,341 theaters in its opening weekend.
The film made $10.9 million on its first day, including $1.6 million from Thursday night previews at 2,775 theaters. It ended up grossing $28.7 million, finishing third at the box office, behind holdover Thor: Ragnarok, and Daddy’s Home 2. 51% of the film’s opening weekend audience was over the age of 35. In its second weekend, the film took in $13.8 million (a drop of 51.9%), finishing fifth, behind Justice League, Wonder, Thor: Ragnarok and Daddy’s Home 2.
About the Story
In 1934, famous detective Hercule Poirot solves a theft at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The obsessive compulsive Belgian—who seeks balance in life, and considers his case-solving ability to see a lie amid truth a curse—wants to rest in Istanbul, but must return to London for another case. His friend Bouc, director of the Orient Express, offers a room on the train.
Poirot refuses businessman Samuel Ratchett’s offer to hire him as his bodyguard during the three-day journey, as Ratchett has received threatening letters from an unknown party. That night Poirot hears strange noises coming from Ratchett’s compartment, and sees someone in a red kimono running down the hallway. An avalanche derails the train’s engine and strands the passengers.
The next morning, Poirot discovers Ratchett was murdered during the night after being stabbed a dozen times. Poirot and Bouc investigate the passengers as repairs begin. Evidence indicates that Ratchett was murdered by one person, with Caroline Hubbard claiming that a man was in her compartment during the night. Poirot discovers a partially destroyed note connecting Ratchett to the kidnapping of Daisy Armstrong, a child who was abducted from her bedroom and held for ransom. After the ransom was paid, Daisy was found murdered. Ratchett is identified as John Cassetti, Daisy’s kidnapper and murderer. Her death caused her mother Sonia to die after giving premature birth to a stillborn baby; her father, Colonel Armstrong, then committed suicide. The family’s nursemaid Susanne was arrested and hanged herself while in police custody, but was exonerated after her death.
More evidence is found, including a bloodstained handkerchief and the button of a conductor’s uniform found in Mrs. Hubbard’s compartment. The uniform is later found, as is the kimono, discovered in Poirot’s own suitcase. Hubbard is stabbed in the back; she survives but cannot identify the culprit. Poirot discovers several of the passengers have direct connections to the Armstrong family. While interviewing governess Mary Debenham, John Arbuthnot shoots Poirot in the shoulder claiming that he is the murderer, but is stopped by Bouc. Poirot realizes that Arbuthnot—a medical doctor and former army sniper—never meant to kill him.
Poirot meets the suspects outside the train, offering two theories of how Ratchett died. The first is simple: A murderer disguised as a conductor boarded the train, murdered Ratchett, and fled. The second is more complex: Every suspect is connected to the Armstrongs, Susanne, or her trial in some way—including those who had pretended otherwise—and had motive to kill Ratchett/Cassetti. Hubbard is revealed to be Linda Arden, former stage actress and Sonia Armstrong’s mother.
Continue Reading and View the Theatrical Trailer
Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Elliot Levey, Yassine Zeroual, Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom Jr., Nari Blair-Mangat, Andy Apollo, David Annen, Ziad Abaza, Michelle Pfeiffer
Screenplay by: Michael Green
Production Design by: Jim Clay
Cinematography by: Haris Zambarloukos
Film Editing by: Mick Audsley
Costume Design by: Alexandra Byrne
Set Decoration by: Rebecca Alleway
Art Direction by: Andrew Ackland-Snow, Will Coubrough, Charlo Dalli, Jordana Finkel, Phil Harvey, Dominic Masters
Music by: Patrick Doyle
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and thematic elements.
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: November 10, 2017