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Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review (2017) | Full Spoilers

Murder on the Orient Express movie helps us relive Agatha Christie‘s crime mystery era once again. Hercule Poirot, the forgotten detective breathes yet again and he does so, with a flair that’s peerless owing to a power pack performance aced by Kenneth Branagh. The whodunnit flick is based on the novel and is further aggrandized by Kenneth’s cinematic filters and its extraordinary screenplay written by Michael Green.

However, the movie isn’t pure gold either. Frame segues, at times, do not feel effortless. Murder on the Orient Express movie drags for its first half trying to sieve into its tale. Even though that part is crucial, it often sucks out life from the movie.

The world is a cold cruel place.

Continuous shots are a joy to watch. Long winding takes that the cast aces without letting their guards down only tell us how good they are all as actors. They perform their bits unflinchingly. Kenneth  Branagh’s visionary takes from different angles make the story more riveting. His close-ups and continuity in shots will leave you stupefied.

Even though the final revelation is an epic unspooling and might have blown your brains out, I am pretty sure you were left scratching your heads on a lot of occasions. For that, I have decided to do an analysis of sorts with full spoilers for the Murder on the Orient Express movie.

Bear with me, it begins:

Plot Analysis of Murder on the Orient Express Movie (Spoilers)

We see Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective solving a theft case at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem first. Then we find him traveling to Istanbul where he wishes to rest but is forced to return to London for another case. Piggybacking on the Orient Express with his friend Bouc (Tom Bateman), who is the director of the train, he is asked to scooch himself into a room.

They may get lost in life, but I will be damned if they don’t know where they are.

Edward Ratchett (Johnny Depp) offers a job to Hercule to be his personal bodyguard during the three-day journey. Ratchett had been receiving life-threatening letters and so he wishes Hercule Poirot to help him out.

Ratchett: You are the world famous detective Hercule Poirot. Avenger of the innocent. Is that what they call you in the papers?
Hercule Poirot: And you are the innocent?

The latter bluntly refuses since he knows Ratchett to be a crooked businessman. His reputation preceded him.

still of Johnny Depp as Ratchett in Murder on the Orient Express

The same night Hercule has a hard time sleeping owing to noises coming from Ratchett’ s room.

Caroline Hubbard: Eyes linger any longer I will have to charge rent.
Edward Ratchett: I will pay.

At one point he even sees someone running in a red kimono down the hallway. The train gets derailed on account of an avalanche leaving the passengers stranded.

You know there’s something about a tangle of strangers pressed together for days with nothing in common but the need to go from one place to another and never see each other again.

The Murder

So we already knew a murder was imminent. (What gave away? The title?) The next morning it is discovered that Ratchett was murdered during the night with a dozen stab wounds on his body. The investigation begins with Bouc convincing Hercule to take the case up, so no one gets wrongfully convicted by the police.

If there was a murder then there was a murderer.

Caroline Hubbard (Michelle Pfeiffer) claims there was a man in her apartment the other night.

Hercule discovers a note that has been destroyed. He manages to reveal its content, figuring out the reason behind the murder – the first piece of the puzzle.

Let’s ask the victim.

The Reason

Ratchett, the victim, earlier known as John Cassetti was responsible for abducting Daisy Armstrong, a child abducted from her crib and held for ransom. Even after the ransom was paid, Ratchett still murdered the poor child. Taken by grief, her mother Sonia died in childbirth giving birth to a stillborn. Her father, Colonel Armstrong too committed suicide unable to bear the pain.

The police wrongfully convicted Susanne, the family’s nursemaid, who hanged herself up, even though later exonerated after her death.

 I have lived long enough to know what I like. What I dislike, I cannot abide.

Murder on the Orient Express movie still of Hercule Poirot played by Kenneth Branagh

Evidence

What follows is Hercule Poirot individually setting suspects aside interrogating them one by one. Amongst other pieces of evidence, he finds a handkerchief with an ‘H’ mark on it, a missing button from a conductor’s uniform from Hubbard’s compartment. Hercule also discovers the kimono he had seen the other night in his own suitcase.

Hubbard is meanwhile stabbed in the back however she survives. She is unable to register the attacker though saying the attack was from behind.

As the investigation proceeds, Hercule keeps on discovering links that people have to Armstrong’s family in one way or the other. When all fingers seem to be pointing towards Mary Debenham (Daisy Ridley), Dr. Arbuthnot (Leslie Odom Jr.) tries to shoot Hercule claiming himself to be the killer.  But misses him shooting him on the shoulder. Bouc intervenes and he gets caught.

We are surrounded by lies.

But it is clear to Hercule that he isn’t the killer since the doctor was an expert marksman who wouldn’t have possibly missed.

The Revelation

In the final moments, Hercule lines everybody up, buys time for a showdown even though the train was already repaired and ready to leave once again.

He presents two theories. The first one being – the killer disguised himself as a conductor boarded the train and killed Ratchett and absconded.

The second theory is the real one where we find out that each traveler in the train had a motive to kill Ratchett. They were all affected by the monstrosity of a villain that didn’t deserve to live. They all stabbed Ratchett together inflicting on him poetic justice, all twelve of them, and hence 12 wounds.

Did he have enemies?
Pick a number.

It is revealed that Hubbard is none other than Sonia’s mother Linda Arden former stage actress who set the events in motion.

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It is also revealed that it was Arbuthnot, the doctor, who had deliberately planted the knife in Hubbard’s back, so as to not injure her and to set Hercule Poirot on a wild goose chase.

Poirot places his gun in front of them asking them to shoot him, since he was the only one who knew their truth. That Bouc could lie, but he couldn’t fracture the truth. Hubbard picks up the gun and tries to shoot herself, but the gun wasn’t loaded. A test clearly on Hercule’s part to see how would the suspects react.

It is a mind-boggling output that leaves Hercule brooding. For the first time in his life, he believes that the killer deserved to die. He goes with the first theory in front of the police allowing all of them to escape.

What are you afraid of?
Everything.

As the movie concludes we find Hercule Poirot being approached by someone about a murder case near the Nile river. It is a wink at the sequel that’s clearly based on the book Death on the Nile.

The Final Verdict

It feels so good that Agatha is still not forgotten! Her famous character Hercule Poirot springs alive and that too in ravishing pizzazz. It is hard not to marvel at how amazing Kenneth Branagh looks as Hercule. He does him enthralling justice. Can’t wait to see him in future runs.

Murder on the Orient Express Movie is a stunner especially when it comes to its cinematography. It packs some really astounding visuals. It has this alluring cinematic feel to it that will make you marvel every shot. I particularly loved long uncut camera shots that Kenneth preferred to show working on different perspectives. Although some of the long shots ended up taking away the fun and you feel a little editing could have made it better. To be honest you can still be okay with it, if you are paying attention to what the characters have to say.

Watching Murder on the Orient Express Movie was one of a kind experience. It makes us believe that the future of Agatha Christie is in good hands. Highly recommend this movie to people who genuinely love crime drama.

You can check out our other movie reviews as well.

Blade Runner 2049 Review (2017) | Denis Villeneuve Pays a Fitting Homage

Blade Runner 2049 is a powerful tribute, a fitting sequel to the 1982 blockbuster Blade Runner. The stakes were already high when there were talks of a sequel to a masterpiece, but when Denis Villeneuve‘s name was tacked to the project the world resounded with a sigh of relief. The good news is that he delivers. What a rad stunner!

To witness an eye-boggling dystopian world which has clearly uplifted Ridley Scott‘s version with everything technology could afford is beyond compare. Visuals are literally and figuratively out of the world as Denis uses his fastidious eye to aggrandize every frame.

The movie is paced really slow like a good and genuine thriller, a fact some might not have liked. I swear I heard a lot of people snoring in the theatres which makes me think, maybe the movie could have been edited or paced up a little bit. On a personal level, I think I liked its gait. The way it moves, letting us get in sync with its story, helping us chug wheels of imagination alongside the protagonist are some of the good virtues make it delectable.

Direction of Blade Runner 2049

Denis Villeneuve’s a true magician. The way he weaves his frames is a lesson for budding directors. Creating scenes that are inimitable from angles that aggrandize a situation. Everything is so tasteful that you realize that his frames are quite simple to helm which many fail terribly at. His brain’s simply peerless. There’s so much beauty lurking there; it’s an honour living in his era.

K played by Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 is a product of his brain that goes through his gorgeous filters. There’s an arresting aura about all of the characters chosen to star in the flick, and Denis plays with them like a pro he is.

Prolonged shots of the protagonist hovering over the dystopian world, an action sequence played out by silhouettes, or resurrecting the same old hide and seek tension that we had seen in the prequel, using a distorted fragmented piece of music to play in the backdrop or a shot showing a cold-blooded murder by placing the camera outside a window pane for effect are some of the shots that fill you with awe.

The music he chooses to blare is simply powerful. It becomes deafening at times, however never fails to complement his imposing frames. In a way talking about the impending impact just like he used it gorgeously in Arrival.

Writing and Orgasmic Visuals

Hampton Fancher (the guy who wrote the first one) and Michael Green do a fabulous job of creating a winning story. Keeping the memorable character of Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) as the nub of the story, they weave a tale that’s unlike others we have seen. With a revelation that will blow your mind away, not once but twice, the movie persuasively and successfully houses a seriously good thriller in its womb.

Pain reminds you the joy you felt was real.

The screenplay takes you back in time with Fancher bringing most of his lost mojo back on paper. The wisdom that escapes Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) trickles down like honey, and you realize, the guy makes so much sense.

All the courage in the world cannot alter fact.

The Visuals team do a fabulous job of creating something really unworldly. With countless prepossessing panoramic shots to bedazzle us, the movie literally picks us up and puts us in a dystopian future. Deserted lands look unlike anything we have seen so far.

The Theme and Plot of Blade Runner 2049 Movie

The theme of the movie is centered around these very lines spoken by Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright):

The world is built in a wall that separates kind. Tell either side there’s no wall, you have bought a war or a slaughter.

Can a replicant become pregnant? If so there would be no demarking lines to separate humans from replicants. When K (Ryan Gosling) bumps into a case like that he is asked to keep something so colossal under wraps, and to take care of it before it goes out in the open.

The case ends up unwinding into something we don’t expect, and it is a convoluted tale that keeps getting better with every reveal.

Ryan Gosling as K (Spoilers)

The story is run from K’s perspective. Ryan Gosling, who by the way is a “tin job” blade runner, is a guy who accidentally comes across a secret that gnaws at his soul. It is hidden deep down his memory lane.

I have memories, but I can’t tell if they’re real.

He gets on top of the case, the good Nexus-9 officer he is, and visits Wallace Corp. to identify the DNA he had discovered to be that of Rachael. Yes, the replicant from the first part. She was the girl pregnant with the child of Rick Deckard.

Who keeps a dead tree?

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The Memory Maker

While trying to solve the puzzle of his life, the memory K keeps on witnessing is that of a child trying to hide a sculpted horse in a warehouse as bullies beat him up for the toy. The horse has the same date he saw on Rachael’s grave.

Tagging it as his own memory, and to reconfirm the fact K how much of it is real, K decides to visit a memory maker named Dr. Ana Stelline.

Dr. Ana Stelline Memory Creator in Blade Runner 2049

Ana is the best in the memory business who makes really convincing memories. From her he gathers that the memory he had been witnessing is none other than his own.

Someone lived this, yeah. It happened.

With that, he identifies the child that he was looking for to be none other than him. Whilst it’s a disclosure that feels like something you see coming, it gets answered soon with a final revelation that’s even bigger than the one you were being smug about.

Rick Deckard

With Blade Runner 2049 hitting the theatres, it was crystal clear upfront that Rick was the hero we all wished to see resurrected. Though not the protagonist of this story, the movie manages to preserve the integrity of the cherishable protagonist from the prequel. Harrison Ford reprises his role as Rick Deckard. And it does so really smartly something that doesn’t involve killing his character, unlike what we had to see in Star Wars Force Awakens.

Dick and K fighting in Blade Runner 2049

The force is strong in him as we see him throw the first punch followed by a couple others eyeing K as a threat. Despite the weird dissecting noise there, the scene amplifies automatically owing to the naturalistic vibes that it tags along.

K establishes Rick as his father, as Rick tells him that he had to leave the child for his own good.

Sometimes to love someone, you got to be a stranger.

He was hanging around when a replicant sent by Wallace named as Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) rams in unannounced taking away Rick with him and leaving  K kaput.

You really are the best angel. Aren’t you, Luv?

The Replicant Freedom Movement

When K wakes up Freysa (Hiam Abbass), the leader of the Replicant Freedom Movement asks K to kill Deckard so as to stop Wallace from knowing their whereabouts and saving Deckard’s “daughter”. Mind = Blown!

It’s a huge revelation for K who had been considering himself to be Deckard’s child all this time. But he figures out that it was Selline who was, in fact, Deckard and Rachael’s child that it was her memories that were implanted in him. Ana Selline was really good at her job and hence her memories in his head seemed very real to him.

Dying for the right cause. It’s the most human thing we can do.

With hopes to save Rick from the hands of Wallace who had plans to extract information so that he could progress with his colonization plans, K intercepts his transfer to the off-world. He bumps into Luv again as a fight ensues. Finally, he manages to drown her saving Rick in the process. Staging him as dead, K goes on to do the right thing. He takes Rick Deckard to Stelline for a father-daughter reunion.

It’s very clever to keep yourself empty of information, and all it cost to you was everything.

We see K badly wounded, resting on the stairs slowly succumbing to a probable death. He is feeling the snowflakes on his hand wondering, how for a second he had thought he was real, and what joy it had brought him.

Joi – the Holographic AI

K is in love with his AI holographic girlfriend Joi (Ana De Armas) who is realistic enough to show him a good time. She’s a pleasant companion to have. The technology we see in the movie is simply alluring.

It goes on to capture a transition, an upgrade too, with Joi moving from being trapped in a single room to experiencing the very first thing she wishes to experience – rain. It is then followed by her second most desirable thing – K.

A child. Of woman born. Pushed into the world. Wanted. Loved.

Some of the scenes where we see her network being affected in a crash site with all the lags and glitches are just amazingly done.

Laced in one of the high points of the movie is Joi’s fate. We see her lights being shut down as K burns in disgruntled air helplessly. She had named him Joe when K was busy figuring out his true identity to be akin to humans.

All the best memories are hers.

At a later point, we see K coming to terms with what Joi was all about. At the end of the day, she was nothing but a Wallace advertised product made insanely real.

Blade Runner 2049 movie still of Joi and Joe

Her advertisement calls him Joe venting a series of thoughts inside K’s head. His trance shatters as he accepts her true love to be a sham, another lie Wallace had created to mess with his head.

Luv: I see you are one of our clients. I hope you are satisfied with our product.

K: It’s very….realistic.

Niander Wallace

We see Jared Leto in another convincing performance as Niander Wallace in Blade Runner 2049. The bloke’s blind as a bat but he could see everything using the technology that he has built for himself, and such genius he is.

Every leap of civilization was built on the back of a disposable workforce, but I can only make so many.

He poses as an immensely intellectual villain (I guess we are going to remember him for the rest of our lives). The way he talks and the way he presents the character is simply astounding.

I can see it. As clear as dreaming. He loves her.

There are many other amazing things about the movie as well. About AI we see something very similar to what we had seen in the outstanding 2013 drama Her. One of the most memorable bits in that area is the syncing bit. There’s an apparent lag that we see while AI syncs with human which is a scene that’s beautifully fabricated. It makes you marvel at technology.

Then there was that astonishing scene of the one that literally resurrects Rachael back from the dead. Such beautiful VFX!

Her eyes were green.

The Final Verdict

Blade Runner 2049 movie’s true thrill lies in its proper nerve-racking narration. Even though its pace might not be something today’s fast-moving world is up for, it is a fantastic gem that shouldn’t be missed for the world.

It is a movie that tells you what geniuses are made of. You realize that artistry lies in every aspect of cinema right from the visuals team to the direction, to the cinematography and the writing. It is a combined extraordinary effort of the whole team who make this movie a worthy hoot.

Check out the trailer of Blade Runner 2049 here:

Logan Movie Review (2017) | Perfect Wolverine Homage as Hugh Jackman Rests his Claws

What a way to go! We knew Logan movie was going to be Hugh Jackman’s last as the badass superhero. So finally he rests his claws, and that too with a grandeur and reverence that a guy like him deserves. 17 years! 17 years of service as the guy we can’t imagine Wolverine without.

Even before heading to the cinema hall we knew it was going to be heavy. The trailer had already implied so, and so it was. Logan movie is imaged in a dystopian world wherein there are few mutants left. We are given an inkling that something bad has happened and it is the aftermath of all that emotional trauma where Wolverine is struggling to thrive in.

Logan has a deathwish on his mind. He coughs, bleeds, limps and is affected by his own adamantium which is failing him gradually making him old and vulnerable. It is a gradual decline and we know where we are headed but there is one final mission for him to be useful one more time before succumbing to his grave.

Direction of Logan Movie

James Mangold returns with the final version of The Wolverine franchise, and he simply nails it this time. His direction retains ample focus, provides you perspective around what’s going on and has the right gravitas in it to make you connect instantly with the protagonist. At the same time, you can’t appreciate the makeup artists enough, who projected this shriveled image of Logan who looks old, tattered and yet quite spectacular.

You can’t help but feel sorry for him when you see him gradually withering away, becoming one of time’s many puppets, and headed towards an imminent downfall. The way he coughs, the way he walks, and the way he portrays the quintessential “Old Man Logan”, could easily beat any other dramatic actor of any genre to pulp any day. And James Mangold gives him all the right angles making the movie one helluva visual delight.

Dafne Keen as Laura Kinney

Dafne Keen is hands down amazing in Logan Movie! She acts beautifully steering X-23 to perfection. There’s a fighter in her, there’s defiance in her, and it’s not just in her blades. She dons savagery like a medal. And then you cannot overlook her cuteness either. She is simply brilliant with her fun acts too. Be it be wearing a cool glass, swaying on a mechanical horse or walking into the sea of Reavers casually holding a head in her hand. She perfects every act without saying a word. It, in a way, betrays her meanness.

still of Daphne Keen as X-23 Laura Kinney in Logan Movie

The gore is simply breathtaking and is enjoyable when you see the father-daughter combo go for the kill. You can see those blades light up bald heads, and when they seriously damage a bloke beyond recovering adrenaline doesn’t know how to stop. It’s all in all a visual feast for the eyes.

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Plot of Logan Movie (Spoilers)

We start off in a dystopian future where Logan has taken refuge in a forlorn land taking care of an old and sick Charles Xavier. Logan’s a chauffeur now driving a Chrysler he cares about, looking for prescription drugs to get by. He has Caliban, a tracker at his aid to take care of Professor X, and they are hiding at a smelting plant in Mexico.

Transigen has somehow managed to wipe out a lot of mutants through a deadly virus, and we are to believe that somehow Charles holds himself responsible for it. Even though we aren’t served the backstory, we are only left to ponder that part.

Logan is contacted by Gabriela who used to work for Transigen. She is keen on sending Laura Kinney, a child mutant to a place called Eden, and needs Logan’s help in order to do that. At about the same time, he is contacted by Donald Pierce played convincingly well by Boyd Holbrook who wants Logan to help him locate Laura. When Logan tries to help Gabriela instead, Donald Pierce comes with Reavers, an army of enforcers, to capture her.

It is there where we discover she is a mutant and is an advanced version of Wolverine in terms of superpowers. A fight ensues and they (Logan, Charles and Laura) manage to escape the onslaught.

The Relationship

Later, Logan discovers Laura to be his daughter through a video that Gabriela had made explaining X-23 origins. He finds out she was made with his own DNA. That there were other children too who had managed to escape.

With Transigen on their toes, the trio are forced to constantly stay on the run. Donald Pierce is holding Caliban captive via which he is able to track Logan’s whereabouts. But Caliban is secretly helping Logan to stay one step ahead.

That’s when we find X-24, a genetically enhanced version of Wolverine, barging in at a house they were staying at. X-24 looks exactly the same as Wolverine only younger, better and faster. He was created for the sheer purpose of hunting mutant children. He comes for Laura, kills Charles in the process and the entire family who had given refuge to them, before being rammed by Will Munson‘s truck.

still of Hugh Jackman as Logan in Logan Movie

With Xavier gone, the man Logan really cared about, we find him feeling shattered and broken. He refuses to help Laura to make it to Eden, which he believed to be a mere made up excerpt from a Comic Book, but when her obstinacy can’t be reasoned with he agrees to help her. They head to Eden, while Laura does most of the driving.

Eden – A Temporary Safe Haven

On reaching there, realizing Eden wasn’t a mere fantasy and that it was a hideout for all those escaped children, he realizes he was wrong about it before passing out. His adamantium and injuries exacerbate beyond limit, and takes a toll on him. He finds out the true plan of the children from Rictor, the leader. They were to cross the Canadian borders to safety. Logan asks Laura to be a part of them.

When the children are making that journey, Donald arrives with his Reavers to hunt them down. He had found a photograph Laura used to keep, behind which the Eden coordinates were written. A very dodgy and vulnerable Logan then finds a Mutant serum. Consuming it expedites his healing quotient temporarily.

We see him one more time in one of his badass previous avatars, where he used to go on a slay-spree. Soon, however, the serum wears off, when he encounters Dr. Zander Rice who reveals himself to be Dale Rice‘s son who was killed by Wolverine while trying to escape the Weapon X program. Logan shoots him before encountering X-24 once again.

Donald Pierce, on the other hand, is subdued by the mutant children. X-24 is eventually killed by Laura with an adamantium bullet that Logan used to keep for himself. Before dying, however, X-24 impales Logan badly injuring him against a tree branch.

With his inability to quickly recuperate like he used to, he ends up dying owing to his unhealed wounds. Laura bids his grave adieu turning the cross sign on his grave to represent the X from X-Men. With that the curtain closes.

The Final Verdict

Logan movie shouldn’t be missed for the world. It pays excellent tribute to a guy we loved and revered over the years. It goes on to show how Marvel is capable of everything. Making even a dark movie with a gloomy theme.

For some, the flick might be a tad slow, when Logan keeps falling to despondency every now and then, and often dozing off owing to fatigue. But I think that’s one of those crucial parts that helps the audience to stay connected with the character and empathize with him fully.

I think ours is one of those golden eras where we got to see Hugh Jackman embellish Wolverine. He is, was and will be, hands down one of the best Wolverines we ever saw on screen. No matter what happens in the future, it would be certainly hard for us to imagine someone else fill Logan’s shoes.

Go on and watch the movie even if you aren’t a Wolverine fan, because this one right here is how superhero movies should be helmed.

You can check out the trailer of Logan movie here: