Murder On The Orient: A Lackluster Polar Express

Murder On The Orient: A Lackluster Polar Express

I should have tried the books first.

“An edgier, slightly more adult polar express.” That’s how I explained Murder on the Orient Express to my aunt when she had asked my thoughts. I had never picked up the novels by author, Agatha Christie, or the original movie, nor had I even known about their existence prior to witnessing the trailer, but the premise of the idea looked interesting as well as the tone. It looked like a generally really intriguing movie with a brilliant cast and brilliant visuals (and might I say, brilliant song chosen for the trailer but I digress). What I left from was lackluster in comparison to expectations. If anything, the acting was decent, the pacing was flawed, but the overall stand out was indeed the effects and nothing more.

Murder on the Orient Express is the essentially the story of the “greatest detective in the world”, Hercule Poirot (portrayed by Kenneth Branagh) as a murder occurs on one of the best trains in existence, The Orient. When a sudden avalanches stalls it in it’s tracks, Poirot is left to investigate a murder that had occurred just the night prior.

What I have learned in the past year is that films with a star studded cast predicted to be phenomenal will always be mediocre at best. It was the case with Collateral Beauty, and despite my better judgement, I went in to Orient with much the same expectations. To my dismay, I was met with the same mediocre performances which was a disappointment due to the talent the cast included. With big names like Penelope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Johnny Depp, and rising stars such as Daisy Ridley and Josh Gad it seemed like a diverse set of characters all rolled up into one beautiful murder mystery. It quickly became apparent upon Ridley’s first line that they hired them for the names, and not for the direction. With great talent comes great responsibility to direct them, and there was no direction.

I will say that there was one actor that stood out to me, and that was Branagh himself. I enjoyed his character the entire time, which is more than I can say for the rest. If anything, the other’s and I had an on again off again relationship. The way the acting was done was reminiscent of film noir, but cheaper and much less enticing. They were not particularly bad, just dull, and nothing quite stuck out save for Branagh.

Another issue I found to be quite annoying was the time. Having recently gotten involved with the murder mystery genre and been looking for new things to quench my thirst for angst, I went in expecting a tad too much from the pacing when it came down to it’s run time of just under two hours. It should be noted that mysteries need time to unfold, to unravel, to drop subtle hints of the murderer and confused the audience (while it did not confuse me, my guesses were never right, if that accounts for anything) however it does not have the time to do that. What the film does, instead, is simply give you conflicting reasonings head on, and leaves you to figure out the rest. There is nothing subtle about the final reveal, nothing audiences could pick up on to begin with. I would even go as far as to say it was right in front of their eyes, but that would be a perk.

It was a love hate relationship with the big reveal, because while I did not predict it per se, it also did not astonish me. There was no magic, and instead I was left simply nodding and understanding exactly what was going on. In Orient Express, it simply is, and that is all. I feel that had it been paced slower, and allowed the audience time to consider all possible options with subtle hints here and there to throw them off, a red herring or two, it may have been a tad better, but again- it was only two hours, not even enough time to give characters some brownie points for a tragic backstory (and there were many).

Where the film did well was the effects, I will give it that. Everywhere else was lackluster however the effects were beautiful, and the setting was modern and vibrant while also still keeping the mood of the movie consistent. When said big reveal is indeed revealed, there is a montage in which was filmed so beautifully it was almost hypnotic, and I commend the visual designers for their hard work because it truly did pay off.

Was the film worth buying? No. Is it worth a ten dollar ticket? That depends on the circumstance. I could see Orient Express being a good date movie, or a movie used for the entertainment, but to go in and expect a masterpiece in any sense of the word other than visual may leave you with regrets like myself. It was entertaining, even given its flaws, but perhaps just maybe a story like Hercule's his film should have stayed on the pages, which i look forward to read.

Cover Image Credit:

Popular Right Now

I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.

It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

11 Amazing TV Shows That Are Ending in 2019

All good things must come to an end.


It might just be the beginning of 2019 but there are many TV series wrapping up already. There are many breathtaking and original pilots around along with several reboots coming. This might be one of the greatest year for TV.

However, all good things must come to an end. Some series have been planned out and are going to be finished while others have been cut short. Sadly, here's a list of TV series to say goodbye to this year.

1. The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Final Date: May

12 Seasons//279 episodes

2. Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

Final Date: End of 2019

7 seasons//91 episodes

3. Jane the Virgin (CW)

Final Date: Mid-late 2019

5 seasons//100 episodes

4. Games of Thrones (HBO)


Final Date: Summer

8 Seasons//73 episodes

5. Broad City (Comedy Central)

Comedy Central

Final Date: March

5 seasons//50 episodes



Final Date: Spring

7 seasons//67 episodes

7. Homeland (Showtime)


Final date: Summer

8 seasons//96 episodes

8. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

Final date: January 25

4 seasons//52 episodes

9. The Affair (Showtime)


Final Date: End of 2019

5 seasons//42 episodes

10. Friends From College (Netflix)

Final Date: End of 2019

2 seasons//16 episodes

11. Crashing (HBO)


Final Date: End of 2019

3 seasons//24 episodes

Related Content

Facebook Comments