|We discussed this in the last post: you have a decision to make. If you haven't read Murder On the Orient Express, or seen one of the films, i.e., you don't know what happens in this mystery, then you need to decide if it's okay to know what is going to happen going into the film or if you want to wait until you've seen the film to discuss it, because I can't even write about this poster without giving away the spoilers. Nothing else but Murder On the Orient Express is going to be covered in this post after the opening paragraph, but you will definitely know the ending of the story by the end of this caption for the poster, so either stop reading now and wait to see the film, read this great synopsis of the what happens in the story (from the original book by Agatha Christie) or do neither because you all ready know what happens. If you don't know what is going to happen and you can't decide, permit me, dear reader, to interject this thought: the entertainment value of the film is going to come, for us, from seeing what Branaugh does with the material, and changes he makes for his thesis, rather than the actual narrative and plot. If you are a stickler for such things, please, save yourself until November, otherwise, go ahead and click on the link above and read the synopsis to see what happens. Thank you for your informed participation in this post.|
*If you don't want spoilers, don't read anything in this caption beyond this sentence*
The most notable feature in the poster is obviously the red, billowing cloud of smoke coming up from the train. It can actually be a fruitful exercise to ask stupid questions, so just humor me for a moment so we can work our way through this. What is the color of smoke usually coming from a train? White (yes, sometimes black, but usually white). We know a train is a vehicle, and vehicles symbolize the Holy Spirit, not because the Holy Spirit is a vehicle, rather because the Holy Spirit will use us or circumstances to bring about God's Will. So, when a train is running at full optimization, we can say, the smoke will be white because white is the color of a soul alive with faith, purity, innocence; on the other hand, it can also mean a soul which is dead to faith, purity, innocence, because a corpse turns white in decomposition, so if the "vehicle" of the Holy Spirit is alive in faith, that would will be a successful caring out the Will of God; when a soul is dead in faith, the soul will be unable to carry out God's Will--except through a major conversion experience. So, that's the best case scenario for a train with white smoke, obviously, however, we don't have a best case scenario,...
We know that red symbolizes blood, because our blood is the most valuable thing we have, so we spend our blood on our greatest appetites, which boils down to spending our blood on love for someone (we love someone so much we are willing to spend our life's blood for them), or we spend someone's else blood for our wrath against them. In the case of this film, we can say both are true for the passengers on the train: Ratchett (Johnny Depp) spilled the blood of Daisy Armstrong for his appetites against the upper-class and the money he felt he should have for himself, and the other passengers spilled his blood in wrath for killing Daisy.
What about the cloud itself? Apart from the fact that it's red, there is also the underlying symbolism of the vaporized water. Water in liquid form is the first stage of "reflection" about the self or someone else, because one can see their own reflection in water (like Narcissus); water in vapor form (fog, clouds, steam) is the second stage because then, the boundaries between the self who does the reflecting and the "other" (or the situation) has become "blurred" and there is a continuity or a bond between the self and the other. When there is snow--water in its solid state--the consciousness has become solidified, it takes tangible form in some way, with an object, an action, dialogue, etc., but it ceases to be just interiorized and becomes something substantial; with ice, there is a regression, because the reflection process attempts to become solid (like snow) yet there is still the reflective quality of the first stage of water, so the primary character finds their self in a kind of moral tug-of-war, or an inability to finish their conversion process (consider Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit: Battle Of the Five Armies when he thinks he has killed the Pale Orc, and watches the Orc through the ice, floating in the water beneath, that's what's happening in that scene). So, Murder On the Orient Express, the passengers are united in that second stage of reflection, the distinction between themselves as hunters and Ratchett as their prey has been blurred so all they see is their prize, the spilling of his blood (each one stabs him, so a lot of his blood is spilled) in compensation for Daisy's blood.We know that the train is black and black always symbolizes death: the "good death" is when we are dead to things of this world and alive to things of the next world, but the "bad death" is when we are alive to things of this world and dead to things of the next." The passengers, including Ratchett, have been alive to the things of this world, money, revenge, despair, etc., rather than trusting God, which is why we see three headlights on the train. Light symbolizes the divine light of illumination, and in the case of the Murder On the Orient Express, the "victims" of Ratchett have made themselves God--Father, Son and Spirit, the three headlights--and carried out justice themselves. However, we are the ones who are really the passengers, and the film is the "train," the vehicle of the message, so please keep that in mind below when we discuss the role the Orient Express will play in the film. Finally, please note the lower-center of the poster: there are clouds that are pink and gray; why? Those clouds are in the background, the train leaves them behind, but it suggests that those are the thoughts (the clouds,vapor) the passengers should be having, but have left behind them (since they are in the background of the poster). Pink is the color of love that has not been perfected, it's love that has not become the love of one's blood (it's fondness, a crush, deep adoration, but not, "I love you so much, I will spill my blood for you,") and that's okay because it's being tempered by the gray clouds: gray is the sign of the pilgrim, the sign of penance and the reality that one is not perfect, but is trying to make amends, in other words, what happened to Daisy was devastating, but God is just, and Ratchett won't escape God's punishment, in the meantime, I have to offer it up and trust God's plan,... and that's love, not the great, deep passionate love of the saints, but if we don't start somewhere, we will never get anywhere.
But the devil's always in the details.
you can read the lyrics to the song here), and without realizing the significance of the trailer, they wouldn't understand how brilliantly the song has been paired with the narrative. The song relates the suffering of the writer, but how the pain has been linked with everything in their life, and has made them a believer in the necessity of pain in life. Why is this important? We will see what Branaugh does with the expression of pain in the film and how each character chose to handle their pain resulting from the death of little Daisy Armstrong. But in the world today--especially America--how do we understand the Left and their "philosophy" of handling pain? Don't. The government is responsible to make sure we don't have any pain in life, and to help us when we do, because life is about being a victim, and the government is here to take care of us. I prefer to agree with Believer, rather than the Left, and it's safe to assume that Branaugh does as well.
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The Fine Art Diner