The best part of any period drama? It isn’t the antiquated sophistication, the opportunity to explore worlds long gone, nor even the free history lesson. It’s the mustaches. Every period in humankind’s long and storied past has seen new attempts to perfect the sub-nostril follicular arrangement–some have come much closer than others, with the early 20th century contending among the top dogs of this ever long conquest. Though we, those unfortunate enough to be relegated to the margins of the modern era, must settle only for the meager excuses for mustachery deemed appropriate by contemporary society (unless you live in some parts of Brooklyn), we at least have the new trailer for Murder on the Orient Express to grant us a window into a time of veritably vibrant vibrissae.Of course, even in periods like that showcased in the new film, adapted by Kenneth Branagh from Agatha Christie’s career-defining 1934 novel, not all mustaches are created equal. On the lesser end of the spectrum, we’ve got the septal tresses of the film’s eponymous murder victim Johnny Depp, whose near identical ‘stache did him no favors in 2015’s Mortdecai.
A few leaps above that regrettable display of sneer wigging is the philtrum pillow of one Mr. Josh Gad, a.k.a. “The Assistant.” Perhaps it’s because my principal connotations with Gad involve the words “singing snowman,” but there’s something a bit off about the company of his spindly ‘stache and a hand-rolled cigarette.
Next up: the faint whisper of a mustache that sits atop the lip of Leslie Odom Jr., who in this film plays “The Doctor.” Now, this endeavor wouldn’t exactly win him tremendous esteem in a vacuum, but it certainly doesn’t hurt matters that it benefits from the company of Leslie Odom Jr’s nigh perfect facial situation.
Onward we go, approaching the big guns, the first of which being Tom Bateman’s (“The Salesman”) tubercle topcoat. Though it may not distinguish too ostentatiously from modern day facial hair, Bateman’s electric beam–the sort that could light up even the duskiest cars of a murder train–brings it to levels of timeless grandeur.
Perhaps even more impressive is coiffure conformed to the columella nasi (okay, now it’s just getting ridiculous) of Derek Jacobi, who plays “The Butler.” Such dignity! Such fortitude! Such graceful asymmetry!
But there’s really no contest about who tops the lot of Murder on the Orient Express‘ gamely mustaches. And wouldn’t ya know it–director Kenneth Branagh has granted the honor to his very own nose (that’s what we in the biz call nasal nepotism). Truly, Branagh–who plays “the greatest detective in the world”–is a sight to behold at the conclusion of this trailer:
Now, that’s not to say that only the mustachioed are looking prime and poised for this exciting outing. Also lining the trailer are clean-shaven cinematic superpowers like Michelle Pfeiffer (“The Widow”), Judi Dench (“The Princess”), Daisy Ridley (“The Governess”), and Willem Dafoe (“The Professor”), each evoking a period-appropriate class in this first look at the feature.
All in all, we’ll be keeping watch on Murder on the Orient Express, if only to see what other charming chevrons spring forth from the sidelines.
Images: 20th Century Fox