Murder on the Orient Express  – When taking a trip on the Orient Express to return home for a new case, Poirot meets the numerous passengers onboard the locomotive. When the weather stops the train and a passenger is murdered, Poirot must use his powers of deduction to find and reveal the killer before another victim suffers the same fate or the murderer is given the chance to escape…

Murder on the Orient Express (2017) – Director: Kenneth Branagh

Is Murder on the Orient Express suitable for children?

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Rating: 12A

Running Length: 114 mins

Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Johnny Depp

Genre: Thriller


Agatha Christie is famous for her whodunnits and while Miss Marple may be a favourite of many, Hercule Poirot is arguably her most popular detective so his presence using his ‘little grey cells’ to solve the case of ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ is part of what makes this conundrum a classic.

Branagh’s take on it has clearly been done with care and he, as the famous detective, plays the part very well. Unfortunately part of what makes Poirot such a beloved character is his little idiosyncrasies (an almost child-like low pain threshold, inability to conceive that he could be wrong, an assumption that all are in awe of his fame), none of which are captured as well as in previous iterations (such as David Suchet’s superb small screen performances) and therefore the character falls a little short. As Christie was fantastic at detailing Poirot’s deductions and allowing the reader the ability to follow the clues (but rarely figuring out enough to solve the case) Poirot’s eventual ‘big reveal’ scene would tie together thoughts the viewer had already come to themselves. Unfortunately this level of sleuthing has been pushed aside for a more superficially impressive ‘knowledge’ and therefore what Poirot works out tends to appear almost as clairvoyance and/or lucky leaps of logic.

All of the above being said, ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ is very good. The story has been brought to the screen excellently and even with so many big names jostling for attention, none take over the screen; their performances are largely considered and understated. Special mention must also go to the beautiful cinematography that really sets the scene with contrasting vast landscapes with claustrophobic and isolated train scenes all underscored by breathtakingly beautiful period set pieces.


A man walking around with a woman who appears to be his date asks someone if there is somewhere they can go for 20 minutes for an argument and then make up afterwards. The woman barely speaks and is dressed respectably but it is explicitly stated that she is a prostitute.

A female divorcee tells a male character that ‘a lady has needs’ that she’d like to be met, ‘preferably on a regular basis’.

One of the passengers is black and there is some mildly racial dialogue. Most passengers have no issue with him, the strongest this gets is when he sits at a table with other characters, one gets up and asks to be sat somewhere else. When challenged about this he says that he believes races should be kept separate.

When the victim of the murder is discovered, there are no camera shots of the body, however in a later scene the body is shown from directly above. There are large patches of blood all over the torso and the camera slowly pans down. This scene lasts for several minutes so could be distressing for some kids. There is some dialogue describing the murder such as ‘he was stabbed’, ‘a man is dead’ and ‘stabbing a man 12 times in a frenzy’. When discussing who the murderer could be, a character says ‘they will find a culprit and they will hang him’.

Poirot tells the story of another case where a child was abducted from her crib and her body was found a few days later. This destroyed the girl’s family leading to further deaths, including one by suicide.

Poirot speaks to a woman and it turns out that she regularly takes barbital (a sedative), she proudly tells him that she takes ‘oceans of it’.


‘Murder on the Orient Express’ is one of Agatha Christie’s greatest whodunnit’s and Kenneth Branagh has clearly taken great care in bringing the tale to the big screen. As the story is quite slow burning and the murder isn’t particularly exciting, it is likely to be quite dull for children; in terms of the content, we feel this movie should be appropriate for kids aged 7 and over.

  • Violence: 2/5 (a woman screams and is found with a large dagger in her back, the camera is close-up to her face and the dagger can be seen, it is pulled out by another character and the woman cries out in pain. This isn’t gory. After a quiet ponderous scene, a character is suddenly shot, the loud bang potentially causing a jump-scare)
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5 (several characters become upset about something that has happened in the past)
  • Fear Factor: 2/5 (the scene of the murder is shown as a flashback. This isn’t gory but very claustrophobic, and full of emotion which could be distressing for some)
  • Sexual Content: 1/5 (some mild innuendo)
  • Bad Language: 1/5 (some mild blasphemy)
  • Dialogue: 2/5
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of murder, revenge, suspicion, death, intelligence,

Words by Laura Record

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