Johnny Depp’s Hit Murder Mystery Is Streaming For Free Right Now
Johnny Depp's Murder on the Orient Express is streaming for free (with ads) on Freevee.
For those that just can’t get enough of Pirates of the Caribbean actor Johnny Depp appearing in just about anything, you’ll be pleased to know that the 2017 Kenneth Branagh directed, produced, and starring film adaptation of Agatha Christie‘s Murder on the Orient Express, also featuring Depp in a supporting role, is available to stream for free right now! Johnny Depp plays famous gangster John Cassetti – AKA Edward Ratchet, who is up to all sorts of no good in the movie.
Murder on the Orient Express is the fourth screen adaptation of author Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel of the same name (published originally as Murder in the Calais Coach). The novel, film, and subsequent works follow the exploits of Belgian master detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh), in this story investigating strange doings and strange characters traveling on the titular train.
Poirot encounters John Cassetti (Johnny Depp) after the detective is diverted from a previously planned trip to this particular train. Cassetti has been receiving death threats and recognizing the detective, attempts to hire Poirot. Repulsed by the gangster and knowing full well who he is, Hercule rebuffs the criminal saying “I will not take the case because I do not like your face.”
From there the story really gets going, and in the interest of not spoiling the whole thing, that is where the Johnny Depp blow-by-blow ends. As a movie, this version of the classic tale is handled with the practiced and sure hand of director Kenneth Branagh, full of nice details, from the production design to the technical presentation, all wonderfully presented. The performances are also handled with flair and precision, surely another credit to Branagh’s Shakespearean sensibilities. The movie has the same easy pace as the book, making for a pretty comfy watch for a rainy day … or a sunny one – you pick.
Of note is the suitably slimy performance of Johnny Depp as Cassetti / Ratchett, all but leaving a grease trail in every scene he walks through. The scene in the dining car is good stuff, both two pros, Depp and Branagh, neatly translating the scene from the books into cinematic form. It is scenes like this that remind one of watching Depp transform into an acting elder statesman, moving rather gracefully into roles that began to acknowledge his age before more recent unpleasantness in the news began to overshadow his accomplishments and dim his star.
He’s taking a break, let’s hope it isn’t a long one.
Of additional interest to fans of Agatha Christie, is the recent news about the editing of original works that contain potentially upsetting material such as racial slurs and other affectations. Her books, published between 1920 and 1976, are now subject to amendments to things like a character’s inner monologue, to items like “Native” being changed to “Local”. The Poirot and Miss Marple mysteries aren’t the only ones under the knife, these changes have also been applied to the works of authors such as Roald Dahl and the Ian Fleming James Bond books.
It is uncertain, with all of the various (and likely more useful) methods we as humans could employ to expose young readers to various viewpoints, even anachronistic ones, that erasing even a little of the past is perhaps not the lesser of evils.
As of this date, there are two Kenneth Branagh-produced Hercule Poirot mysteries that have been released, this one in 2017 and the sequel Death on the Nile in 2022. The latter is based on the 1937 novel of the same name, was met with mixed reviews, and while largely being considered inferior to other adaptations of the story, was shown appreciation for its more old-school presentation. Both Poirot films had an old Hollywood glamor to them that is often missing today, drowned out by a morass of overproduced sound and visual effects. A third film, entitled A Haunting in Venice, based on the Christie story Hallowe’en Party is due to be released on September 15, 2023.
In all, a perfectly enjoyable movie with a great performance by the cast, including Johnny Depp killing it in a villainous role that upon any review should prove that he is a talent that needs to continue to be seen and shared. You can stream Murder on the Orient Express on Freevee.