I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Connor Bynum // Film Critic
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
Rated PG-13, 114 minutes.
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, Leslie Odom Jr., Penélope Cruz, Josh Gad, Johnny Depp and Derek Jacobi
Upon reviewing MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS in theaters last year, I gave it a favorable review in spite of some gripes with a somewhat stilted ending half hour. Now that the film has made its way to home video on 4K UHD, my opinion on the film remains mostly intact, but the impeccable work done to bring the film to Ultra High Definition is nothing short of a masterpiece.
Movie Grade: B-
In spite of an underused cast, the film is able to gradually increase the tension on board as the passengers grow more restless and paranoid of those around them. It is at its most enjoyable when Poirot (Kenneth Branagh, who also directed the film) meticulously pieces together the puzzle as time is running out. Ultimately, Branagh is able to craft a thought-provoking and charming film that is certainly worth the price of a ticket. Just expect a few bumps along the way. [Full theatrical review.]
Video/Audio Grade: A+
Branagh is nothing short of a classical filmmaker and his decision to capture this film in the most grandiose way possible should not come as much of a surprise. Captured in 70mm film and finished on 4K Digital Intermediate, the end result on this 4K release is exquisite. Wide sweeping shots of the snow-covered mountain tops are breathtaking, while the finer textures on clothing, down to the hairs on Poirot’s iconic mustache, are equally brilliant.
The visual quality is made even more vivid thanks to the inclusion of HDR. Darker scenes on the train never feel to have crushed black tones and the vast white winter horizons seem to go on for eternity. The amazing attention to detail to be found on screen would no doubt pass inspection from the man himself, which is probably the highest compliment I can give.
On the audio front, this disc comes packed with a Dolby Atmos track that is equally enjoyable. The deep wheezing and cranking of the titular train will rattle the speakers. Overall, this is a marvelous 4K presentation.
Extras Grade: B-
Outside of including the commentary track with Branagh on the 4K disc, all extras are left on the included standard Blu-ray. What’s there, is certainly worth a look as they offer quite a fair amount of insight on Agatha Christie’s writing and influence on the mystery genre.
All Special Features:
- Agatha Christie: An Intimate Portrait
- Let’s Talk About Hercule Poirot
- Unusual Suspects: Part One
- The Art of Murder
- Unusual Suspects: Part Two
- All Aboard: Filming Murder on the Orient Express
- Unusual Suspects: Part Three
- Music of Murder
- Deleted Scenes
- Commentary by Kenneth Branagh and Michael Greene
- Theatrical Trailers
Final Grade: A-
Despite being a murder mystery that plays things a little too safe in its execution, the 4K transfer on this disc is to die for. Home theater enthusiasts are sure to have a grand old time on the Orient Express.
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS is now available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.