Murder on the Orient Express

Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of the Agatha Christie chestnut, about a murder and some highly suspect passengers on a luxury train, offers exotic locations, fluid cinematography, stunning production design, and numerous stars—Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Johnny Depp, and Branagh as detective Hercule Poirot. But character development was never Christie’s strong suit, and the actors here try too hard to flesh out roles that are little more than stock types (Branagh brings to Poirot some of the existential angst of his PBS detective, Kurt Wallander). Editor Mick Audsley lingers too long on the stars, slowing the pace of the subterfuge and snappy repartee.