Director: Tate Taylor
Running Time: 112 minutes
Main Cast: Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Edgar Ramirez and Luke Evans
The Girl on The Train adaption attempts to have the same effect as Gone Girl, but falls short of that comparison and becomes just another cliché murder mystery/psychodrama.
The Girl on a Train is a an adapted screenplay of Paula Hawkins novel of the same name, follows Rachel (Emily Blunt), an alcoholic divorcee, who catches a train to Manhattan everyday, looking at her old neighborhood and the people in it, fantasizing about their lives. She fixates on the perfect couple Megan (Haley Bennett) and Scott (Luke Evans). On one train trip Rachel realizes that Megan is having an affair, this is when the story goes south as Megan disappears, is presumed dead and a police investigation into her disappearance begins. Rachel becomes intrigued in the case and begins to investigate things herself, which gets her into trouble and is where the drama really beings.
Emily Blunt is one part of the film that actually works. Her portrayal of a fragile alcoholic divorcee is perfect and really adds to the story and it’s progression. She makes it believable to think that she really is struggling with herself, her past and her drinking problem, especially with her water bottle full of cheap vodka that she consumes on the train. Blunt is able to portray to us that she is a sad, unstable person and it really adds to the narrative. But as the movie progresses so does her character and we really see her changes expressed by Blunt, as Rachel takes a turn for the better and she begins to find out more and more information about what transpired earlier in the film. At times she is unintentionally funny with how she portrays Rachel as some scenes of her drunkenness and the events within them are funny and bring a lighter side to a reasonably dark character. Without Blunt’s performance the climax and the entirety of the film would have been less impactful.
But director Tate Taylor has fallen short with this adaptation. While some of his cinematography is wonderful, he relies too heavily on close ups and medium close ups and by the end of the film it can become annoying and tacky. It felt like Taylor was really trying to focus too much on character emotions, which feels like he is holding the viewers hand and walking through the mystery and making it easier for us to find out who the killer is. It would have been better if he paid less attention to using lots of close ups and maybe zoomed out so we could try and find our own way to finding out who the killer is.
The way the narrative is constructed and also the way it looks and plays out feels cliché. It felt like the film was saying “the killer is not who you think it is”, it would have benefitted better as a psychodrama if it had followed one with a bigger twist at the end. If it played out like “I think it’s the most obvious one”, but when the narrative concludes it’s completely opposite to what you expect and it makes the story more fulfilling. It just feels too predictable and would have benefitted from a change from that gone girl mentality and tried to go out on its own and maybe add to the genre. Taylor’s film feels like it is obsessed with the twist and its where the film feels too cliché.
The Girl on The Train is an average movie at best, with a thrilling story and wonderful casting of its lead role in Emily blunt. But it just feels too predictable and too close to the mould of Gone Girl to have the same impact. If it had moved away from this it would have been a much better movie. If you are into this kind of film it is for you but if it’s not it’s a good movie to watch at home on a weekend than in the cinema.
The Front Row Opinion