Spoilers ahead! The latest film adaptation of Agatha Christie's 1934 detective book, Murder on the Orient Express, hits theaters everywhere in the U.S. on Nov. 10, and the star-studded film cannot be missed. That's because the film brings one of the most classic mystery tales to life, with both the characters and audience itching to find out who the killer is in Murder on the Orient Express all movie long.
Christie's book has been adapted into various on-screen versions before, including a 1974 version starring Hollywood legends like Lauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergman, and now this 2017 version with Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, and others. There's a reason why the film keeps being re-made, and it's that it's an enthralling murder mystery filled with surprising twists and turns — like the answer to who committed the titular murder.
Asking who the killer from the movie is is the wrong question, because people should actually be asking who the killers are. The death of a passenger is a group effort, and while at a few moments during the film, certain couples seem to be in on it together, it turns out that every person had a hand in killing the train's murder victim, plotting and executing the man's death as a group.
But it's the story that goes with this revelation is what makes this movie so captivating. It turns out, Murder On The Orient Express isn't really just about the murder which, as you probably guessed from the movie's title, happens on the Orient Express. The film is also about a different murder, which occurred before the train ride between Istanbul and Paris and serves as an important backstory for the film.
The victim of the train murder is Edward Ratchett (played by Johnny Depp), whose name fits his character; he comes clean to acclaimed detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) early on in the film about his bootlegging business, but he doesn't exactly come clean about a different, more important crime he committed. Before changing his name to Ratchett, the criminal went by the last name Cassetti, and he'd kidnapped and murdered a young girl named Daisy Armstrong, of a prominent and wealthy American family. After Daisy's death, the young heiress's mother, Sonia, and father, Colonel Armstrong, then died, and Cassetti's crimes were of even greater consequence than those close to the Armstrongs could comprehend.
It's those close to the Armstrong family who are aboard the Orient Express, as each person has their own relation to the deceased. Poirot uncovers each of them through his characteristic devising and interrogations, and in the end, he discovers that the passengers on the train include Ratchett's secretary, Hector MacQueen (played by Josh Gad), whose father was involved in the trial following Daisy Amstrong's murder; Edward Henry Masterman (played by Derek Jacobi), who was the Armstrongs' butler then Ratchett's valet to get close to him; and several other members from the Armstrongs' staff, family, and friends.
The mastermind behind the scheme to murder Ratchett (aka Cassetti) is Sonia Armstrong's mother, Linda Arden, who poses as a woman named Caroline Hubbard (played by Michelle Pfeifer). Arden gathers her other daughter (Lucy Boynton), her friend Princess Natalia Dragomiroff (Dame Judi Dench), Mary Debenham (Daisy Ridley) aka the Armstrong's governess, Pilar Estravados (Penelope Cruz) aka the Armstrong's nurse, and more. In total, 13 people who had either known and loved the Armstrongs or had some relation to the first murder case have gathered together to kill Ratchett on the Orient Express. A
If that all sounds messy and convoluted, that's because it is, and the case manages to stumps even the world-renowned detective for much of the movie. Yet all the confusion gives the film with almost as many twists and turns as the pathway from Istanbul to Paris.