The first trailer for Kenneth Branagh’s forthcoming Murder on the Orient Express hints at a more intense movie than some may have originally guessed. Previously when speaking about the film, Branagh admitted his affinity for Scorsese’s Age of Innocence. Branagh told EW:
One of my favorite films of Martin Scorsese — a man I revere — is Age of Innocence. One of the things I thought was just so captivating was the way I was entirely transported to nineteenth-century New York. I could taste and smell [everything]. And I wanted to do that with this. I wanted to bring people onto the train, to celebrate a sort of expertise, and craftsmanship, in everything, whether it’s a wooden panel or the way something is served.
That film, while excellent, isn’t the first movie to come to mind when you think of high-octane thrillers, although Daniel Day-Lewis in a top hat never fails to thrill. Of course, reading a little further into Branagh’s comments, you see a man dedicated to making a film that intends to expose the primal evils of humanity hidden beneath the posh exterior of upper-class socialites:
I think what I found in the book again, and in the screenplay, was that it unleashed something very primal, very kind of grisly. I realized that we could find a way to have the fun of Agatha Christie, but have the absolutely deadly intention behind it, and the danger. I think we’re making a scarier film than people might imagine. We’re not trying to turn it into something it isn’t, but I think we’re away from the drawing room mystery, and we’re into something [else]. Because the book is also a dark psychological revenge drama.
Given Branagh’s comments about how he views his forthcoming—incredibly star-studded—mystery film, maybe it should have come as no surprise that the first trailer juxtaposes an extravagantly decorated train with a horrifying scream and … Imagine Dragons? For a film that wishes to be an in-depth period film, it seems odd that the trailer would utilize “Pain” by Imagine Dragons and use floating, cool blue titles for each of the passengers. It’s almost jarring, given the 19th-century digs of the train and its passengers.
But maybe that’s the whole point. The trailer seems to offer up such surprising contradictions as a way of subtly demonstrating that not everything is as it appears. Some of us already know how this film ends, but for those that don’t, prepare yourselves for a wild ride. The book is one of Agatha Christie’s best, and the film is shaping up to look like one of the best adaptations of her work, Imagine Dragons notwithstanding.
Check out the icy trailer above and click here to learn more about the film’s loaded cast.