Agatha Christie - Murder on the Orient Express
I have watched two versions of the movie – the BBC version from 1974 and also the latest. As most anyone will say if asked, the book is usually better than the movie. It must be quite difficult to make a movie of someone’s brain child and deliver the emotional impact and understand the characters the same way the author does. A book can also deliver so much information regarding the thoughts of the characters that a movie has a hard time inserting into a script.
The book itself is a wonderful read – if you haven’t read it and mystery is one of your loves, then Murder on the Orient Express is a must. Agatha Christie delivers, as always, a mystery in which the reader rarely sees the true conclusion before the denouement at the end. All the characters in the story are important and each one has a unique role. Hercule Poirot, as a character, is truly unique. Christie has imagined a man with a profound impact on the reader and with all his quirky traits and his finicky ways we are still very much aware of a very intelligent man who also has a passion for the truth. The story is set in Europe and Hercule Poirot finds a seat on the fabulous and famous Orient Express. While on the train, a man is murdered in a way that seems to demonstrate extreme hatred. Circumstances indicate that the murderer is on the train. As the story progresses Poirot spends time with each passenger and uses his talents to learn their stories. Soon it will be impossible to pinpoint anyone that might be capable of the act of murder. I will not spoil the story for anyone who wants to read the book – and I highly encourage you to do so.
The 2017 movie version is a good movie to watch. Good actors and props that bring out the setting of the era create the right ambience on the whole. However in comparing the movie to the book I must admit I found it lacking. The script took liberties with the actual story, and the ending left me sputtering “that is not the way it’s supposed to be!” But you will have your own experience and will make your own judgement.
I admit, I take great pleasure from reading books and then subsequently tearing apart their movie adaptations. It’s fun to watch the story come to life, and it’s almost as much fun to pick apart how it failed to do it adequately (most of the time--I know, I know, sometimes they get it right.) I chose to read Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple. The movie was set to come out in May but has since been pushed back to October. Oh well, it’s nice to be ahead of the game for once.
The book was hilarious, cleverly written (mostly in email and letter format, but done well), and I enjoyed that it dealt with anxiety in a real way even though the book was a comedy. I felt it was well balanced.
Favourite quotes include:
“I can feel the irrationality and anxiety draining my store of energy like a battery-operated racecar grinding away in the corner. This is the energy I will need to get through the next day. But I just lie in bed and watch it burn, and with it any hope for a productive tomorrow. There go the dishes, there goes the grocery store, there goes exercise, there goes bringing in the garbage cans. There goes basic human kindness.”
Although she doesn’t seem to think highly of Canadians:
“One of the main reasons I don't like leaving the house is because I might find myself face to face with a Canadian.”
If you enjoy contemporary comedic stories I’d recommend it. I can’t wait to see how the movie adaptation bungles it.
As always if you want to join in on the reading challenge feel free! We do monthly draws for those who participate. Check out the pdf explaining it all here: https://jakeepplibrary.com/files/2018/01/Reading-Challenge-2018.pdf