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).