The following spoils no plot details of an 85-year-old book (who says Hollywood has no original ideas?).

Agatha Christie’s steam-powered ‘whodunnit’ has been adapted more times than Piers Morgan’s job description and with Oscar-nominated actor/director Kenneth Branagh in the engine room, this latest version had all the opportunity to leave previous attempts under its wheels.

So how does it measure up? Well, it certainly looks a treat. Aside from occasional insultingly obvious green-screen and Branagh taking Poirot’s iconic facial fungus to near-parodic magnitudes (his barber should be tried for ‘ze merderrr’ of upper-lip etiquette), the film is a visual marvel. Erratically stylish direction and almost flawless production design are this films biggest boasts and it loves to flaunt them.

The star-saturated cast also all turn out good to great performances- special commendation to Johnny Depp who turns in his first role I haven’t hated him in since 2007. Daisy Ridley does well considering the film’s curious lack of lightsabers and the principal Belgian detective is suitably quirky and reassuringly distinct from David Suchet’s inimitable portrayal.


Aside from that… there isn’t much else to it. Nothing new is added to the book’s plot (the synopsis of which I admittedly read from Wikipedia) so rather than forging forward to Venice like its eponymous convoy, it simply trundles along like an acceptably maintained service on Northern Rail. Each character gets roughly two scenes to appear vaguely suspicious before we reach a peculiarly disappointing climax I suppose I should blame on the book. Perhaps this is one of those cases where the words ‘faithful’ and ‘adaptation’ should have been kept in separate carriages.