I have to admit that I could see no serious reason for a third adaptation of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” The Sidney Lumet theatrical version was very good, and I have heard several laudatory and several disparaging comments on the BBC-PBS adaptation. Be that as it may, I knew from the first trailer that I wanted to see this new version directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh.
Disregard the blurbs; the original surprise ending is still with us even though extra material has been inserted there and in other episodes. I won’t speculate about Agatha Christie’s probable reaction to those additions, but most of them are minor.
The cast of this version is as good, overall, as the Lumet version. Branagh’s approach to Hercule Poirot does differ from those of Albert Finney and David Suchet, but his version of the famous mustache is more credible than some might think. I almost did not recognize Daisy Ridley, better known for her role in “The Force Awakens” and the forthcoming, “The Last Jedi.”
There is a strong hint that at least one more Branagh adaptation is on the way, probably “Death on the Nile.” If you have never seen Peter Ustinov and Mia Farrow’s version of that title, you might want to track it down.
I won’t say that this version of “Murder on the Orient Express” is essential, but it is certainly worth your time.