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MUR­DER ON THE ORI­ENT EX­PRESS (M) Poirot’s many de­duc­tions still add up, US, 113 min

Wel­come aboard the Ori­ent Ex­press, de­part­ing 1934 Is­tan­bul for Calais. Please be aware your jour­ney will be in­ter­rupted by a lengthy stop on the side of a moun­tain. Pri­mar­ily so that staff can deal with a sud­den de­rail­ment in the wake of an avalanche. Oh, and also so that bril­liant Bel­gian de­tec­tive Her­cule Poirot (Ken­neth Branagh) can ex­actly iden­tify who has re­cently mur­dered a fel­low pas­sen­ger. There are plenty of po­ten­tial perps in this lav­ish new adap­ta­tion of au­thor Agatha Christie’s clas­sic who­dunit, and a starry cast has been as­sem­bled to cough up their char­ac­ters’ re­spec­tive al­i­bis. These in­clude a sour old princess (Judi Dench), a sweet young gov­erness (Daisy Ri­d­ley), a du­bi­ous aca­demic (Willem Dafoe), a du­ti­ful mis­sion­ary (Pene­lope Cruz) and a slick-talk­ing con­man (Johnny Depp). It is dif­fi­cult to mess up such a time-honoured crowd-pleaser, and though this show­boat­ing af­fair al­most stuffs up the end­ing, the movie ticks enough of the right boxes to ad­e­quately sat­isfy the world’s many Poirot purists (and Christie crack­pots).

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