I have been watching this in tiny installments since Christmas, and only recently finished it. The Guardian didn't care for it much; and I had low expectations, because the script rewrites on some of the adaptations have been rather horrendous.
It was riveting, and made me want to go out and watch the whole Suchet-Poirot canon from start to finish (well, so far) -- there aren't that many more to go, and as far as I know Suchet is planning to go up through Curtain. If this was any indication, he's read the rest, and knows what is coming. This installment was Poirot both brittle and strong as iron; it made me think of him both as intensely human, in a way I can't remember feeling before -- but also as akin to the Doctor. Am I seeing Timelords everywhere?
It shouldn't have worked. The source material is charming, but flimsy; the scriptwriters put in a Hammer of Symmetrical Foreshadowing early on that should have made me turn it off in disgust. But Suchet is incandescent; the rest of the cast (Eileen Atkins and Barbara Hershey among them) are none too shabby either, but they would fall flat if they had a lesser incarnation of Poirot to face off against.
Disclaimer: I haven't read Orient Express lately; I cannot and am not commenting on the precise fidelity of the adaptation of the novel. But when I finished the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew in 3rd or 4th grade, I went straight into Poirot; he was childhood and adolescence for me; and it's with that certainty that I say that this was an entirely true vehicle for his character.
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