Now it’s nothing new when a popular book is adapted into a feature film, it’s been happening for decades. When a book sweeps the nation, be it “Harry Potter”, “The Hunger Games”, or “Fifty Shades of Grey”, if it makes money on the page you can be sure some studio somewhere will want to profit from it on the big screen. As of late it’s been the Young Adult series of books making the transition to films, but there is that other popular market of young woman who just love thrillers. With the success of “Gone Girl” two years ago it’s only a matter of time from when the next hot book hits the Kindle to a movie being made about it. Enter: “The Girl on the Train”.
Rachel (Emily Blunt) is still reeling and drinking after her failed marriage to Tom (Justin Theroux) who still lives in their old home, who is now remarried and has a child with Anna (Rebecca Ferguson). They live just houses down from Megan (Haley Bennet) and Scott (Luke Evans) who appear from Rachel’s point of view from a moving train on her way to the city, to have the perfect marriage. Then on one of her commutes she sees something that may ruin her vision of that perfect union between strangers, while still meddling in the life of her ex-husband and his new wife.
This movie while not bad, is still not particularly good either. What I thought we were getting despite the “Gone Girl” like trailer I saw was a great platform to see Emily Blunt tear it up on screen, which is something I look forward to in any film starring her. Seriously check out her work and you can see, she is usually the best part of the film she’s in. From “The Wolfman” and “The Adjustment Bureau” to “Looper” and “Sicario”, she even managed to outshine Tom Cruise in almost every scene in “Edge of Tomorrow”. However director Tate Taylor (The Help, Get on Up) fails to let her acting prowess take this pretty basic, and semi-obvious triller to another level. Instead he relies on smash cuts, blurred visions, and imaginary scenarios that take up way too much time. I understand it was an effort to visually show Rachel’s state of mind in a constant drunken haze, but all it did was hinder Blunt’s performance. The rest of the cast really just went through the motions, knowing what kind of film they were in, which only amounts to a slightly better version of a Lifetime movie.
In a forgettable script and an even less relatable set of circumstances from most of the characters with let’s face it, a ton of first-world problems, there is very little here to latch on to. I do feel bad for constantly comparing it to “Gone Girl”, because David Fincher and Tate Taylor are by no means on the same level. “The Girl on the Train” other than being a popular thriller based on a novel involving self-obsessed, rich and deceptive white people screwing each other over in more ways than one, which ends with a twist, I guess the differences kinda end there. Wait, which one was I describing again?
–Robert L. Castillo