Walking into Murder on the Orient Express – the latest adaptation of Agatha Christie’s hyper-famous detective story – I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s 2017, after all, and big budget movies are generally spectacle these days. The trailers certainly promised lots of CGI, and perhaps even some two-fisted action. I’m no purist – I read Orient Express in high school, during a period when I discovered detective novels aren’t for me – but I couldn’t imagine a modern adaptation of this work would feel like anything but bloated bombast.
So imagine my surprise when the movie ended up being rather small scale and even intimate, with the camera crowded into corners of sleeping compartments and often peering down from overhead. Yes, there’s plenty of CGI – every establishing shot looks like Star Wars – but Kenneth Branagh’s take on Christie keeps the scope small and most of the action mental.