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I recently started going to the public library. Books becoming a luxury item are so expensive in stores when the library has them for basically free. I’ve enjoyed the smell of old books and the other people sitting quietly, drifting into other worlds between the pages.

Going to the Library led me to rediscovered Agatha Christie. Seeing her name on the shelf took me straight back to my childhood. As a child I was a little obsessed, I bought the audio tapes, movies, books, anything I could get my hands on that was Agatha Christie. The character of Hercule Poirot was just hilarious and fascinating.

My mother introduced me to this wonderful world of mystery and I fell in love, my favourites were, “Murder on the Blue Train” and of course, “Murder on the Orient Express”. There was a Christmas where I received the movie, “Murder on the Orient Express” I watched it countless times. The funny thing is that this movie would always terrify me, the opening sequence is just so eerie, a collage of old footage, newspaper clippings and screaming violins. Ending with a fast zoom in on, “Daisy found slain”. It really did freak me out.

Well, you can imagine my excitement on finding out that Murder on the Orient Express has been remade. I was truly excited, so my mother and I decided to have the full experience by attending the movie at one of Cape Town’s oldest movie theatres, The Labia. Popcorn in brown bags and glasses of wine it’s a forgotten cinema of the past. The perfect setting.

So, the movie. It is beautifully done, the landscape, the scenery it was my brother’s favourite part of the movie…and he’s a teenager. It is beautifully filmed / animated (I suspect). The Orient Express train itself is also beautiful to watch. Instantly you are introduced to Hercule Poirot reincarnated by Kenneth Branagh who also directed and produced the movie.

From the first couple or minutes you could tell that he had Poirot perfected!

One thing that had me interested was how the whole cast had an element of their predecessor to them. They most certainly don’t look identical but there is most certainly an element that keeps them similar.

For example the original Mr. Mcqueen was played by Anthony Perkins ,who you may know as Norman Bates from Psycho. It is Josh Gad from Beauty and the Beast who has brought this character back to life. Now looking at them they are so different Josh is rather round while Anthony was basically a stick. But there is just something about them that is similar…I can’t quite put my finger on it, can you?

Albert Finney

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Kenneth Branagh

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Lauren Bacall

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Michelle Pfeiffer

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Anthony Perkins

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Josh Gad

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Richard Widmark

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Johnny Depp

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Of course Johnny Depp being in the film had me interested however, when I found out that he was cast as the villain I wondered could he create the same creepiness that you got from Richard Weedt Widmark. You instantly did not like Richard the moment you saw him in the old version. Well unfortunately as good an actor as Johnny is and how perfectly he was made up to look different, his fame I think overrides him and I was very aware the whole time that I was staring at Johnny Depp. Instead of being creeped out by the awful Ratchet.

Penelope Cruz, who has never been my favourite actress truly surprised me. She was honestly one of my favourites, you usually see her as the sexy Spanish seductress. However she was in the role of a missionary and truly pulled off the role fantastically!

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Judy Dench playing the Princess Dragomiroff was perfect. Who else could have played that role in this day and age? Very similar to Wendy Hiller. Although once again I don’t know how they did it, was it camera angles or was it the actors? But, in the Original everything had an air of scariness to it that this film did not.

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According to the gossipers, Judy Dench and Kenneth Branagh are great chums and once he got her on board for the film the rest of the cast agreed. Judy had the cast play board games and theatre games between takes to keep them entertained.

The movie moved so fast that before I knew it, suddenly it was the end of the film. They had tried to make the film far more emotional than the first. That’s the difference, the first one tried to scare you in a clever way and this one wanted to hit your emotions. The original goes into depth of the back story where as the remake lets you fill in the gaps.

I can’t say too much without giving away spoilers. So, I will say that it is most certainly worth a watch. 100%. In fact I would say watch this one first and if it sparks your interest, if you like it, then go watch the original. In my opinion the original was and always will be better but this certainly is a brilliant remake!

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