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The New Murder on the Orient Express Trailer Has Me Feeling Conflicted

The upcoming Murder on the Orient Express stars every movie star in the known universe, and its aesthetics look snazzy as hell. So why do I keep feeling like something’s off?

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Any big-screen, big-budget incarnation of Agatha Christie’s beloved Belgian detective Hercule Poirot was always going to be a tough sell for me, because I absolutely adore David Suchet’s iconic, 25-year-tenure as Poirot for ITV. Every time I look at Kenneth Branagh’s ridiculous mustache and hear his preposterous accent the little grey cells in my brain scream, “NON, YOU ARE NOT HERCULE POIROT, MY FRIEND.”

But I can get over Branagh (maybe one day), who is a fine actor and will probably do fine. I understand that this is not my Poirot and that everything about this Ridley Scott-produced movie is made to be extra flashy, built to blockbuster proportions. I think what sets my teeth on edge a mere 28 seconds into this latest trailer is the prominent featuring of the smarmy Johnny Depp smarming it up past 11 in his role as “the gangster,” and my only hope is that he dies quickly and is the Murder at hand.

When will Hollywood studios finally get it through their heads that no one wants to see Johnny Depp smirk through an “edgy” part anymore?

Then, while the trailer continues to showcase the impressive cast (seriously, who isn’t in this thing?)—Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz, Josh Gad, Willem Dafoe, and Dame Judi Dench are here for tea, to start—all we really see them do is spout cliche one-liners.

Murder on the Orient Express is about exposing the secrets that we keep beneath the simple labels doled out here like “the princess” and “the missionary,” so hopefully scenes of deeper nuance are being kept under wraps to surprise us. Still, I’m not sure why I can’t get more excited about this film based on the trailers we’ve seen.

What do you think, mes amis?

(images: screengrab, ITV)

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Kaila Hale-Stern
Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.

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