Murder on the Orient Express (2017) Parent Guide
This beautifully shot whodunit is a treat for any murder mystery fan but comes with a cherry on top for fans of Agatha Christie.
Parent Movie Review
In this adaption of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery, her famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot comes to life, played by Kenneth Branagh (who also directs the film). In the opening scenes of the movie, the eccentric sleuth shows his chops by defusing a religious squabble in Jerusalem, circa 1934.
His good deed does not go unpunished. While Poirot is looking forward to a holiday away from the weighty responsibility of criminal investigation, the British track him down with the request to solve yet another matter. Now his only hope for rest is the trip between assignments, which includes a ride aboard the Orient Express.
We know from the title of the film that his desires will be thwarted! As Poirot settles into his cabin on the opulent train, the audience will be wise to notice the other passengers embarking on the journey, because one of them will become the victim, and the rest will become suspects. And the joy of a whodunit is trying to figure out the puzzle before (or at least at the same time as) the detective.
The ensemble here features some great diversity (and talent): the nephew of the luxury liner’s owner (Tom Bateman), a kindly conductor (Marwan Kenzari), an attractive governess (Daisy Ridley), an African American doctor (Leslie Odom Jr.), a wealthy widow looking for a husband (Michelle Pfeiffer), an Italian car salesman (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), an Austrian engineer (Willian Defoe), a paranoid religious worker (Penélope Cruz), a German princess and her travelling companion (Judi Dench and Olivia Colman), a count and countess (Sergei Polunin and Lucy Boynton), a shady antiques dealer (Johnny Depp) and his assistants (Josh Gad and Derek Jacobi).
In classic Christie tradition, the killing occurs just before the strangers are trapped in the snowy mountains by an avalanche which stops the engine in its tracks. Isolated from the outside world, Poirot is persuaded to interview the passengers and determine who the perpetrator is before the local authorities get wind of the crime. The fear is that perhaps the wrong culprit will be arrested, the transport company’s reputation may be ruined, and of course, the killer may strike again.
Squeamish viewers may not appreciate the realism of a corpse, which is shown with bloody stab marks. Disturbing as well may be some of the other depictions (stabbings, attempted suicide, fist-fights and gunshot wounds), and themes (kidnapping, death of a child, racial prejudice, injustices and revenge). A few mild profanities and sexual innuendo are also included. Because Christie’s books tend to skip the detail and focus on the drama, these portrayals may be more detailed than the reader’s imagination.
Yet for most fans of the mystery writer, this version of her work will not disappoint. Beautifully shot and superbly acted, the script plays out as predictably as a train schedule with the promised twists, turns and surprise ending.Directed by Kenneth Branagh. Starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley. Running time: 114 minutes. Theatrical release November 10, 2017. Updated May 23, 2020
Watch the trailer for Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
Rating & Content Info
Why is Murder on the Orient Express (2017) rated PG-13? Murder on the Orient Express (2017) is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for violence and thematic elements.
Violence: Characters engage in self-defense fighting, physical altercations and brawls. Guns are used to threaten others. Characters are shot at, and one is wounded (some blood is shown). A robbery is discussed. Murders are committed, a victim’s dead body is shown with multiple bloody wounds. Stabbing are depicted (with few graphic details). Kidnapping, fatal complications with childbirth, terminal illness and suicides are mentioned and/or portrayed. Embezzlement, false accusations and legal injustices are discussed. Threats of bodily harm are made. Characters fall from a trestle bridge.
Sexual Content: Mild sexual innuendo is heard. A woman is flirtatious with various men. A prostitute is depicted. A character steps in manure.
Profanity: Infrequent use of mild profanity and terms of deity. Characters express racial and religious bigotry. Slurs are occasionally uttered.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters are seen drinking alcohol in a social setting. A character drinks from a flask. A couple of men confess to drinking late into the evening. Cigarette smoking is occasionally seen. A female character has an addiction to a prescription medicine. A character is drugged, and another is seen taking pills.
Page last updated May 23, 2020
Murder on the Orient Express (2017) Parents' Guide
At the beginning of the film, Hercule Poirot explains his brain’s fascination with perfection, which helps him see the imperfections left behind by a criminal. He claims that for him, “Everything is black and white”, and there is no grey to confuse the facts. How do you feel about his perspective? Are there some things that are grey to you? What circumstances might occur to muddy an issue. How do you deal with uncertainty?
As events unfold in the story, the characters are forced to consider how the actions of one person can impact many others. How does the murder that is committed affect the rest of the travelers on the train? Do these actions only touch the lives of the guilty? Is it possible to hold an individual to account for the chain of events their actions might set off? After seeing this film, what would you say to someone who says their behavior is hurting only themselves?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Death on the Nile features Agatha Christie’s super sleuth Hercule Poirot again, this time trapped on a boat with a murderer. In Cat Among the Pigeons, Hercule Poirot solves murders committed in the closed environment of a girls’ boarding school.
In Anne Perry’s Ashworth Hall, a political gathering at an English country home ends in murder. Luckily, police detective Thomas Pitt is staying at the estate, and his ability to interact with the Victorian gentry comes in handy as he deduces the identity of the killer.
Anna Lee Huber’s The Anatomist’s Wife, features Lady Kiera Darby, a notorious widow, shunned by polite society after stories circulated of her late husband’s performance of illegal autopsies in the early 19th century. But Kiera’s skills come in handy when someone is murdered at her sister’s Scottish estate.
Isolated homes on the Devonshire countryside are haunted by a murderous dog in Sir Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. Sherlock Holmes uses his deductive skills to solve the mystery.
News About "Murder on the Orient Express (2017)"
Agatha Christie is purported to be the best-selling author of all time. With 66 detective novels, 14 short story collections, and credit for the world’s longest-running play (based on her book The Mousetrap) her murder mysterious have delighted billions of fans.
Murder on the Orient Express is one of her most widely known tales. It has been adapted to both the big and small screen many times and even turned into a video game. See:
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
Murder on the Orient Express (2001) (TV Movie)
Murder on the Orient Express (2015) (TV Series)
Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express (2006) (Video Game)
Hercule Poirot is one of her favorite, recurring characters. The Belgian private detective is described with an egg-shaped head, a mustache and superior intelligence. He is also a respected resource for various police agencies. Poirot makes an appearance in 33 original novels and over 50 short stories, and has been played by such actors as Albert Finney, Alfred Molina, Peter Ustinov and David Suchet. In the 2017 movie adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, Kenneth Branagh takes on the iconic role.
By the way, Agatha Christie may have made up the plot of the murder mystery, but the Orient Express was not a creation of her imagination. Her book was set on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE), a luxury line that still runs in a "tourist" version today, featuring restored vintage sleeping and dining cars.
The most recent home video release of Murder on the Orient Express (2017) movie is February 27, 2018. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: Murder on the Orient Express
Release Date: 27 February 2018
Murder on the Orient Express releases to home video (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital) with the following extras:
- An eight-part documentary, eleven deleted scenes, commentary by Branagh and more.
Related home video titles:
This film is available on demand. Sherlock Holmes is another detective character created by a British author. You can see him in action in the movies The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Holmes.
Murder on the Orient Express was also filmed in 1974 with an all-star cast including Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, and Vanessa Redgrave. This movie is more faithful to the original novel. Try watching both and see which one you prefer!