Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
Musical Score By: Patrick Doyle
Distributed by: Sony Classical
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Based on the novel by Agatha Christie, the 2017 version of Murder on the Orient Express is the fourth adaptation of the novel – there was a theatrical film version in 1974, a television film version in 2001 and the story was covered in an episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot in 2010. This version sports an all-star cast and stars Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot, decides to take a much-needed vacation after solving a theft at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. He wants to take a break in Istanbul, but must return to London for yet another case. His friend (Tom Bateman) offers him a room on the Orient Express. It isn’t long before someone is murdered – the very same businessman (Johnny Depp) whom he refused to allow to hire him as a bodyguard the night before. It is obvious that the man was killed by one of the passengers on the train, but who? Stranded while the train is being repaired thanks to derailment caused by an avalanche, it is imperative that Poirot figures out who the murder is…before they strike again!
The musical score of the 2017 version of Murder on the Orient Express was composed by Scottish film composer Patrick Doyle, a longtime collaborator of actor/director Kenneth Branagh. Classically trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, Doyle joined the Renaissance Theatre Company as a composer and musical director in 1987. By 1989, he was composing for film with Henry V. Doyle has worked with Branagh on a number of well-known films such as Dead Again, Much Ado About Nothing, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Hamlet, As You Like It, Thor, Cinderella and more. Other works include the scores of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Eragon, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Carlito's Way, Gosford Park, Brave and The Emoji Movie.
The music of Murder on the Orient Express is mainly orchestral. The opening tracks are filled with wonderment and awe with a hint of the exotic as a nod toward the locale. The fourth track, The Orient Express, is fast-paced with a piano style that mimics the sound of the train’s wheel movement as it speeds towards its destination. The longest track on the album, Justice, is the best reflection of Patrick Doyle’s classical training. The classical piano and string harmonies in this track are also found in the one song on the album, Never Forget. Dangerous moments in the film are represented through classical mystery noir performed by strings and pianos that manage to sound ominous without any rumbling bass undertones. Poirot is a surprising track, reminding me of music I have heard performed by lounge pianists in classy restaurants…perhaps this adds an heir of class to the character.
However this new version of Murder on the Orient Express fairs in theaters, I can honestly say that Patrick Doyle has done an excellent job with the movie’s score. By staying true to his classic roots, he offers up a score that emulates the mystery of the film as well as transporting the listener back to a time when this sort of music would have been the rage. I loved every minute of the Murder on the Orient Express Soundtrack and am happy to add it to my movie soundtrack collection.