It’s not easy to adapt Agatha Christie to screen in 2017, and it is even more difficult to take upon ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ which already had a fabulous and stars-blessed version made in 1974 by . The queen of the detective novel created superb mysteries, but there are challenges in bringing them to screen, as her characters are quite theatrical, always hide and seem to be something else that they really are, and the confined enclosure where most of her stories take place does not fit the requirements of dynamics in modern action cinema. It’s a challenge to turn the bright mental exercises in her novels into screen action, especially as most of the viewers would know the ending. A challenge that can be compared with bringing to the cinema screens the text and characters of Shakespeare. So, maybe it takes a director and an actor that already brought to screen the plays of Shakespeare to assume the challenge and the risks. The name of this director is, of course, .

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3402236/mediaviewer/rm274931968

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3402236/mediaviewer/rm274931968

 

The approach chosen by the director for this version of Murder on the Orient Express does not try to ‘actualize’ the intrigue into the present time, but does the contrary – it is very specific about the exact year of the plot, 1934, exactly the year when Agatha Christie’s book was published. While keeping the structure of the intrigue and the format of the ‘train story’ it invests much of the writing and acting efforts into developing the characters. First of all it’s Hercule Poirot’s life itself which is enhanced with the memory of a lost love, although more details may have been left for the following episodes. himself assumes the role of Poirot, with , , , , and a wonderful supporting cast providing color and personality to each one of the characters, whatever time they catch on the screen.

 

(video source 20th Century Fox)

 

I enjoyed the experience of watching this version of the classical murder story, even if the solution of the mystery was known to me from the beginning. I believe that succeeded to find the right balance between the old good way of making films with a good story combined with nuanced acting, and the modern visual techniques that place the action in a spectacular landscape adding an aura of fairy tale. The ending alludes to the next episode in what may become a series, and I am looking forward to it.