Trailer Reaction: “Murder On The Orient Express”

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This November, everyone is a suspect! The first trailer for “Murder on the Orient Express” is here and it’s a delightfully simple look at what we can expect from this fall’s potential must-see crime mystery thriller. While it’s a short, and relatively simple, trailer I took a look at what we can expect after getting our first sneak peak into the film based on Agatha Christie’s 1934 detective novel of the same name.

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The trailer opens, appropriately enough, with our first look at the titular train and passengers getting reading to get on board. The first few shots featured show us the setting, a cold, winter, mountainous backdrop that would clearly be tough terrain to travel for an escape, making the train out to be a prison unto itself for its passengers. So we know that the killer probably has no real escape, so the key here for the suspect is to remain unknown until they get to their destination.

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As the train makes it way to its destination we get a few establishing shots of major passengers we will be getting to know throughout the film, each seemingly having their own personality. A voiceover begins declaring, “there is something about a tangle of stranger pressed together for days with nothing in common but the need to go from one place to another and never see each other again.” This is a fantastic line to open things up with, especially seeing as it gives us the first look at many of the suspects and speaks to the intriguing plot we will see unfold as suspects from all walks of life are brought together to determine which one of them is the culprit. Think “Clue” on a train, a good old-fashioned who-done-it.

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In the process we get a look at Johnny Depp as Edward Ratchett, the murder victim himself, and this is pretty much all we see of him is a glimpse of the man who will become the target of a violent crime. Unless you’ve read the book, which I myself have not but probably will, this trailer provides us with little detail on who this man is. Why is he the target? What is he doing on the train? Why cast an A-lister like Johnny Depp for a role that will be killed off early in the film? It offers many more questions than answers and that’s probably appropriate seeing as the story behind who Ratchett is and why he is traveling is probably significant to the plot and the motives of the killer. It makes us think and personally makes me want to know more about this character and his backstory.

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What follows is my favorite part of a short and straight to the point the trailer, a revealing of the suspects one by one. We get a full on listing of who is being examined as the potential murderer. The professor (Willem Dafoe), the butler (Derek Jacobi), the count (Sergei Polunin), the assistant (Josh Gad), the governess (Daisy Ridley), the missionary (Penélope Cruz), the widow (Michelle Pfeiffer), the salesman (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), the maid (Olivia Coleman), the doctor (Leslie Odom, Jr.), and the Princess (Judi Dench), are all shown one after another conversing about the crime that took place while the same man who provided the earlier voiceover, whose perspective we appear to be seeing, tells them they are all suspects in what he confirms to be a murder. Then we get the big reveal of one of the most iconic literary character of his time….

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Kenneth Branagh will lead the cast as Hercule Poirot, a self proclaimed master detective or, as he states in his introduction in the trailer, “probably the greatest detective in the world”. What’s interesting is that Branagh is also directing the film. It’s one of two films he will be part of as an actor in 2017, the other being “Dunkirk”. This final shot is a simple, yet effective one because we get an immediate idea of the man behind the mustache. He comes off as a confident, egomaniacal detective and one we already know will be determined to solve this murder regardless of what it takes. His stern demeanor and his straightforward approach to his voiceovers in the trailer promise a character that takes no prisoners to get the one prisoner he really wants to apprehend.

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What’s impressive about this trailer is it does so much with so little. We have an all-star ensemble cast of characters who are all suspects of killing a man on a train seemingly stranded in the middle of nowhere with the self-proclaimed greatest detective hot on the trail of the man, or woman, behind the crime. For those unfamiliar with the story, it’s a trailer that gives you everything you need to know and leaves out everything you don’t to create intrigue and interest in understanding more about these characters and seeing the mystery play out.

The first look at “Murder On The Orient Express” is a short one, but one that is a perfect introduction to the story we will see unfold. I personally can’t wait to see this mystery be explored and to find out who committed the crime and how Poirot comes to his conclusion. Let me know your thoughts on this first trailer for the film and view the trailer in its entirety below. “Murder On The Orient” will be release November 10.


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