Quick-Thoughts: Sidney Lumet’s Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

So basically, the lesson here is no party poopin’ allowed on the Orient Express.

After watching two impressionable masterpieces as my first ever Sidney Lumet viewings (12 Angry Men and Fail Safe) this is certainly a major step down, but I was still moderately engaged throughout with his Agatha Christie adaptation nonetheless. I was particularly drawn to the consistent dichotomy of having the encounters and interrogations be both posh and awkward at the same time, which only helped advance and even foreshadow that admirable subversion from a conventional murder mystery ending; Albert Finney’s performance as Hercule Poirot and the punctilious dialogue written for him really carries this tension as well. 

Howbeit, there’s a lot of emotional baggage to unpack from the ensemble of characters, and each one seems so glossed over that, even in the characters’ respected scenes where they’re questioned, the audience rarely seems to have enough time to absorb the information in to evoke pathos for them, at least never as much as what the actual tragedy that happened in the opening sequence can bring alone from just words; maybe this is the main reason why this Murder on the Orient Express adaptation isn’t often looked at as some masterpiece; it prioritizes going through a neck-tight checklist for discovering puzzle pieces rather than having them each appeal to the viewer sentimentally. Still, overall, the film is fine! 

Verdict: B-

Sidney Lumet Ranked 

“Murder on the Orient Express” is now available to stream on IMDb TV.

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