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What is the selling point for Kenneth Branagh's Murder on the Orient Express, the angle that's going to get you into the theaters on opening weekend? Is it the pedigree of the source material, a cherished mystery novel by the timeless author Agatha Christie? Is it that all-star cast, easily the most glorious line-up of dramatic heavy hitters as you are destined to see on screen this holiday season? Or is it the draw of Branagh, the director, working in 70mm film to produce exquisite snapshots of period Europe on a majestic train set? Trick question, for the answer is all of the above... plus that mustache. Check out the latest Murder on the Orient Express trailer. It's magnificent:
Adapting the classic murder mystery by iconic author Agatha Christie, Kenneth Branagh's Murder on the Orient Express revives a sumptuous period of thriller literature, where esteemed detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh, pulling double duty) finds himself on a case when an American businessman named Ratchett (Johnny Depp) turns up dead. This new trailer suggests a slight change to the narrative, as Depp is labeled as a gangster -- and he's affecting that colorful accent that makes him seem like a tough guy from New York City, or possibly Chicago.
Either way, Poirot (and that Oscar-worthy mustache of his) moves on to the passengers on the train to find his murderer... and the suspects are a Murderer's Row of Hollywood A-list talent. The first trailer for FOX's planned Orient Express remake was just a listing of the cast, because an attempt to put all the names on a marquee would create celeb-induced chaos. Branagh and Depp will be joined by none other than Dame Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Dafoe, Josh Gad, Daisy Ridley, Olivia Colman, and Derek Jacobi. Now that we are inching closer to the film's release, this new teaser shows us more of the action, while still doing what it can to protect the motivations and secrets of the various suspects on the stranded locomotive.
As we head into the back half of 2017, attention is on the numerous effects-driven blockbusters that will be vying for ticket buyers, the Justice League, Thor: Ragnarok and Star Wars: The Last Jedi of the world. But Murder on the Orient Express looks like the mature, sophisticated counter-programming that's essential to keep adults coming back to the multiplexes, seeking visually stimulating and intelligent diversions. And that mustache on Poirot.