Not all movie trailers stand out to me. But when they do, they deserve a blog post. This post happens to be about the official trailer for Murder on the Orient Express (2017). Let's take a look at it, shall we?
Wow... just wow. This trailer is truly brilliant and creative. Within two minutes, we know exactly what this movie is about. We are immediately introduced to the location, characters, time and plot. We are given enough information, without seeing too much, to decide whether or not we want to see this movie. All within two minutes.
When I saw this trailer in the theater, I was like, "woah!". The trailer was so different than all the others. It made an impact on me. Let's break down why.
Everything is pretty straight forward for me until we reach the 53 second mark. Then begins one of the coolest long takes ever. The camera becomes the detective... POV style baby! We walk down the diner aisle as the detective is conversing with the passengers. And all the while, the camera pans to whoever is talking at that moment. We instantly feel like we are there. The scripting is also well done throughout this sequence. It's very interesting how they chose which characters to speak and to not speak. It ends up matching each of their personalities. For example, THE COUNT does not speak. Why would he? We come to find out in the actual movie that he is not one to speak much in general. This suits his character. He's like a fox in the shadows.
Along with these well defined characters, their three-dimensional neon title cards are awesome! They track with the movement of the camera like they are a part of the room and each card is revealed as we approach each character. So beautiful. While we hear and learn about the plot, we see and meet the characters. The fact that the title cards are blue compliments the overall story. Blue resembles the cold environment the train and characters are in and also resembles the chilling event that has just occurred... a murder.
To top it off, the scene plays well with the song that was chosen for it. The driving power of "Believer" by Imagine Dragons just adds that extra oomph. Suspense builds as we reach the end of the diner aisle. A character calls out and asks the detective, "And who are you?". Screen goes to black, music drops, and the detective answers with confidence as the camera cranes up to reveal him. Then boom, we cut to the movie's title screen as the song punches back in with the chorus. The words "MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS" slowly reveal from the wrapping shadows in bold, sleek neon letters. Perfect!
Trailers are a way to capture your audience, to hook them. And this trailer...did just that.