by Lash

So, who did it? That’s the question on everyone’s mind for Murder on the Orient Express. Based on Agatha Christie’s famous novel, which took reference from the real events surrounding the kidnapping of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh’s infant son in 1932, the movie stars a stellar cast including Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Dame Judi Dench and Kenneth Branagh, who also serves as director.

It's definitely value-for-money that you’re paying for only one cinema ticket and be able to ogle at so many stars, but apart from this, here are eight more reasons why you should catch this mystery on rails.

1. In Good Hands

With Kenneth Branagh at the director’s helm, it instantly gives Murder on the Orient Express credibility. After all, Branagh is experienced in translating literary works onto the screen, with Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (1988) and As You Like It (2006), amongst others. Bringing to life one of Agatha’s Christie’s most famous novels should be a walk in the park for him.

2. Experienced theatre thespians

Many of the actors in the film (including Kenneth Branagh and Derek Jacobi), were or are members of the United Kingdom’s leading theatre companies, like The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Royal National Theatre. So don’t just focus on the Hollywood heavyweights, take some time to observe the bit part players.

3. Michelle Pfeiffer sings!

We’ve heard her in Grease 2 and The Fabulous Baker Boys, but those were ages ago. Pfeiffer flexes her vocal chords in this movie, singing “Never Forget”, during the closing credits of the film. The song was written by Branagh and composer Patrick Doyle.

4. As Authentic as can be

Ever so often, period dramas fail because they lack authenticity in an area most overlooked- accents and language, but not Murder on the Orient Express. Branagh made sure everything faithfully followed the era. In fact, Pfeiffer described her filming experience as “deceptively challenging” because of the nature of the period and language used then.

5. Appreciating the Dame

Dame Judi Dench has given us phenomenal performances throughout her acting career, and no doubt, in Murder on the Orient Express as well. Most of her scenes the movie have her seated majority of the time, and when she wasn’t sitting down, she was guided by her aid, Hildegarde Schmidt (Olivia Colman), to accommodate Dench’s failing eyesight. Nothing, however, is going to stop the mighty Dame from performing her best.   

6. Ensemble Cast

Just how big is this cast? There are two Oscar winners (Dench and Cruz) and four Oscar nominees (Branagh, Willem Dafoe, Pfeiffer and Johnny Depp). Apart from them, there is also Star Wars heroine Daisy Ridley, Josh Gad (Beauty and the Beast) and plenty more. You’re in for one heck of a show is all we can say, because even though they are big stars, they all actually get along, which brings me to…

7. The Chemistry is real

When putting together an all-star cast, there is the obvious worry of ego. Turns out there wasn’t any. They all genuinely like each other, even though they started off on an unsure footing. Director Branagh shares, “When they all met for the first time, they were like kids on the first day of school, very shy faces and a lot of concerned, vulnerable-looking faces.” He added that they eventually warmed up with one another, “the stars played Trivia in Judi Dench's trailer on one occasion, they were in there telling stories and they were great game players, they loved playing any kind of pub quiz, Trivia, all that kind of stuff."

8. Sweeping Landscape

Murder on the Orient Express takes place in a snowy environment, and the scenery is to die for. With the landscape scenes filmed in the Aosta Valley in north-western Italy, the movie is a visual feast.