Not everybody’s shot of vodka…
Directed by Tate Taylor, and with a screenplay written by Erin Cressida Wilson, The Girl on the Train is adapted from the best selling novel of the same name, written by Paula Hawkins. Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt), an exhausted alcoholic, gets entangled in a missing persons case when a woman named Megan (Haley Bennett), whom Rachel obsesses over daily, disappears. Being unable to leave the case alone, Rachel soon becomes a prime suspect.
Emily Blunt excels in the art of blackouts, in her most career-enhancing performance to date. With the use of more than one unreliable narrator, you’d think distortion would be the pragmatic approach here. Sadly, predictability and a series of rushed scenes sent the film rather off track. The flood of events therefore arrive a little too hurriedly for the audience’s liking. It’s a shame that a lack of tension in the third act caused it to come crumbling down. No complaints can be pointed at the remainder of the cast. Alison Janney has popped up everywhere during this month at the silver screen, modelling sophisticated roles each time with ease. Rebecca Ferguson (Anna), Haley Bennett (Megan), and Justin Theroux (Tom) gave equally engaging performances, which should not be dismissed. The film’s true nature lies purely in its characterisation.
Generally, it was the screenplay that was missing the “spark” of genius which successful thrillers famously hold. In comparison to the contemporary thriller, The Girl on the Train shares an awful lot of parallels to David Fincher’s Gone Girl in terms of cinematic style. But, in no way does it feel like a cheap copy of Fincher’s work, as it holds many of its own individual traits that can still be admired. The soundtrack for example, was very fitting and assisted the build in atmosphere during the first two acts.
The Girl on the Train doesn’t quite reach the light at the end of the tunnel we were hoping for. It is far from a train-wreck, and serves as a commendable adaptation. But, it could have carried a harsher shock-factor to match its eerie premise. For a mystery that “shocked the world”, this adaptation is similar to walking along a railroad track; you may soon feel quite run down. The poor execution makes for an underwhelming end, but it is not a entire loss, as the acting is first-rate.