“The Girl on the Train” is directed by Tate Taylor and stars Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans, and Edgar Ramírez. The film is based on the novel by Paula Hawkins of the same name and is about a woman named Rachel who becomes engrossed in the disappearance of a woman that she views from the window of a train, and it leads her down some shocking roads.
I was very excited for this film for quite a while, as I had it pinned from the beginning of 2016 as one to look out for. I quite enjoyed Tate Taylor’s previous film, “Get On Up”, and I think Emily Blunt is one of the best actresses we have working today, so this, to me, looked like a potential highlight of the year in the making.
Emily Blunt is absolutely tremendous in the lead role of this film, as she carries much of the movie on her back. Blunt is emotionally powerful and dramatically moving in each and every scene, and watching her character break further and further as the movie progresses was truly incredible to see. This is the role Blunt needs to really show the world her talents, as she continues to succeed in nearly any role she is given, and Blunt is certainly the best part of this movie, without question.
While Blunt is the show-stealer, many of the supporting performances are also solid. Of them, I thought Haley Bennett really improved as the film went along, and I grew to enjoy her performance by the end of the movie. I also thought Edgar Ramírez, the guy who seems to be in everything these days, was great as Bennett’s therapist.
What the movie lacks in excitement, which I will get to, it makes up for in tone, as this film consistently gets darker and darker until the final few minutes. From Blunt’s descent to the plot’s ever-growing darkness, to the brooding score by Danny Elfman, director Tate Taylor is relentless in his approach, and it pays off in a good amount of the scenes.
The plot has quite a few twists and turns from start to finish as character’s personalities become clearer, and I think Taylor does a solid job at developing each of these characters and having them interweave with one another. There are quite a few people at play in this story, and while I haven’t read the book this is based on, the characters seem to have been given justice.
“The Girl on the Train” has a mood, sure, but that doesn’t mean the whole film has to be so damn dreary. This is an easy comparison because they feel so similar, but “Gone Girl” is a perfect example of a mystery thriller with enough wit, dark humor, and entertainment to succeed and succeed with flying colors. This film doesn’t have a lot of that wit, it’s missing humor almost completely, and what we are left with is a film that isn’t nearly as much fun to watch as it should be.
I didn’t love how this film was edited, with choppy cuts and some camerawork that looks like the movie needs to buffer, and these, I guess, unique stylistic choices just did not pay off how they were intended.
Having no knowledge of the book, I’m just going to put it on the movie that there are moments where this film loses its sense of realism and feels like a fantasy. There are just too many coincidences and too many moments where characters just happen to remember something or happen to find a clue that eventually I just didn’t buy the situations much at all.
This is the clearest with the ending moments, where it turns from dramatic thriller to a campy action flick, and I just don’t think it had to go this way. Again, I will look to David Fincher’s “Gone Girl”, because that movie does so much right, but when the action comes in that film, it is brutal, it has a gripping score to back it, and it feels real. This movie has a good score, but what it’s lacking is realism and a change of pace, because a movie can only be so dark before it gets old.
“The Girl on the Train” has its issues, certainly, with the plot being simply too one note, and the film losing its realism towards its conclusion. With that being said, I did have a pretty good time watching the film, in some sort of sick, twisted way, and that is a lot to do with the performances, especially Emily Blunt’s. Blunt is the sole reason this movie succeeds to any extent, and, while “The Girl on the Train” is not as great as it could have been, it still has its merits to fall back on.
Are you excited for “The Girl on the Train”? Comment below with what you think.