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Kenneth Branagh

Murder On The Orient Express – Kenneth Brannagh (2017)

The famous detective of Agatha Christie from 1934 has been made into a probably more famous film in 1974 and not Kenneth Brannagh has a new take on it. I do not know the book and have probably seen the original film at some point, but do not remember much of it.

I think it was the cast that caught my attention. It includes Penélope Cruz, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judy Dench and Willem Daffoe. The director plays the main character Hercule Poirot himself.

The film looks very 1980’ies. I suppose Brannagh wanted to stay close to the 1974 film. This makes that the film has a very low speed, a lot of dialogue and monologue and the atmosphere of an old detective. Besides the somewhat ‘hip’ opening scene, Brannagh’s version looks more like a remake than a contemporary film of the book. You can guess that compared to nowadays crime film (including remakes of classics) the film is somewhat dull. My guess is that this was exactly Brannagh’s intention.

The film is alright, but I do not know if really brings anything new after the 1974 film. Perhaps actors we still know, but …

Sleuth – Kenneth Branagh (2007)

An elderly man living in an extremely modern house has his wife’s lover as a guest. He decides to play a game with him.

What unfolds is a minimalistic film that plays mostly in one house and has only two actors: Michael Caine and Jude Law, whose characters try to outwit the other. This makes an alright film.

What makes the film somewhat better is that it is a remake of a film from 1972 in which Michael Caine played the wife’s lover. Caine certainly has a sense of humor.

Thor * Kenneth Branagh (2011)

The film is based on a comic which is (of course) based on Norse mythology. Losely based I might say. Loki’s mother became a father and he is a brother to Thor. The “white Ase” Heimdall became a negroid and there are some other ‘free interpretations’. Leaving them aside you get some sort of sci-fi action film with some names and themes from Northern mythology. The result is not utterly boring, but not really exiting either. Thor finds himself cast to the earth without his usual powers. He is picked up by a group of scientists and eventually won back for Asgard, which is located on some other planet. There are some funny findings, such as Bifrost as a worm-hole Thor’s ‘meteorite’ and however the ‘frost giants’ are a bit silly, the ‘fire giant’ looks great. You will get the expected spectacle, Anthony Hopkins as Odin and good-looking (computer) stages.