I have never read the novel or watched any other iterations of this story so I went in clueless about this film and as a big fan of mysteries and old-school detectives, this film delighted me to no end.
A train trip across Europe has a mystery murder happening right when Hercule Poirot, the famous detective, is on board. With the murderer being a genius itself, Poirot has to race against time to uncover the culprit before the murder becomes unsolvable. Could he do it in time and keeping his legacy?
The film actually starts off pretty slow as we’re slowly introduced to the titular detective Hercules Poirot and his ridiculous facial hair. We are endeared to him, impressed by him and intrigued by him. It was a great introduction to who he is both as a detective and a person. We are then quickly introduced to the rest of the cast and things don’t really go down until about closer to midway through the film. This is a classic whodunit type of story but I loved the unique conclusion to the case. If you were paying attention there are actually clues laying there for you to pick up on and you’ll feel, very much like our dear detective, that the puzzle slowly and gradually comes to light as revelation after revelation is revealed and it’s not till the very end where the painful truth is revealed. It’s not a case where one thing suddenly makes everything clear, it is the combination of all the facts gathered along the way that slowly, gradually revealed the full picture to me and I loved that. The ending was actually surprisingly emotional and poignant, moving me and I just loved that there were even moments of quirky humor. This film has just a lot to love.
The acting is great all around especially by Kenneth Branagh who also directed and co-wrote the script I believe. Amazing. The sets, the cinematography, a truly marvelous period piece.
I think the one complaint I do have is that because there are so many details to unpack and at times so many things happening so fast that I think there are details which are not explained too clearly and so maybe things could have been presented a bit clearer. And of course the pacing is a bit slow in the first half but it does a wonderful job of introducing the detective. Ultimately if you like mysteries, you’ll probably like this.