Kenneth Branagh – Director Overview

Kenneth Branagh – Director Overview

When you look back over the directorial career of Kenneth Branagh, the man behind the camera for this week’s adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, it provides an interesting picture of the last three decades of Hollywood.

Coming up in the late 1980s, Branagh leveraged his stature as a premiere interpreter of William Shakespeare’s works to steady work as both an actor and director. He came up when serious dramas were still a box-office draw, but just at the tail end of that system. While his strongest work has almost always been the projects he felt the most personally passionate about he also never really accumulate the reputation of auteur that was attached to those only slightly younger than him who made splashy entrances in the early 90s.

In the last 10 years or so, Hollywood has increasingly turned to franchises for box-office success and hired directors both old and new to helm them. That’s lead to some commentary on how directors are essentially disposable in a system that prioritizes the directional leadership of creative councils and producers who oversee vast swaths of intellectual property. Branagh has been swept up in that wave, with all four of his films since 2010, including Orient, being franchise entries or adaptations of existing IP. He’s currently in pre-production on an adaptation of Artemis Fowl.

His directorial filmography fits nicely into three (alright two and a half) categories that provide an overview of what kind of work he’s made for himself as well as what’s been offered to him over the years.

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