I was so happy when I turned on Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Mystery of the Blue Train and realized that there was actually an American actor as part of the story. Not knowing the performers in British productions is one of the reasons I have such a hard time getting through them, but in this one, right off the bat, there was Elliot Gould playing a character with the colorful name of Rufus Van Aldin. I could only hope he was not killed off in the first couple of scenes.
Naturally, the famed detective, Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) is a passenger on the train where murder breaks out. Rufus is on board, as is an American heiress named Ruth Kettering. She is the first victim, though it takes a while to get there.
One of the things that is interesting about Poirot is how he observes so much. We see his reactions to snippets and glimpses that often do not seem important but often are. Part of the fun is trying to figure out how these pieces fit in the puzzle. The success of the direction is key to letting us play detective along with Poirot.
I love the scenery as the train travels and even at the stops it makes along the way. It is quite picturesque and different from so many of the stories that take place at large English estates.
Unfortunately, after the first part of the story, the rest takes place off the train and I started getting bored. I was curious about the killer, but I found myself drifting in and out of the story.
I did not like some of the camera work and directorial action. The floating of cigarette smoke was very unappealing. Neither did I enjoy some of the extreme close ups and off center images. There were some very different shots used here, but sometimes unique does not mean great, at least, not for me.
The ending had the normal suspense with a shocking end for the villain of the piece. That was rather striking. Ultimately, the story was not as appealing as I had hoped after the opening scenes. Gould was good, but did a lot of visual grimacing that got a bit tiring. I enjoyed it, but it could have been better.