The Girl on the Train: Film Review

girl

Since the film adaptation of the bestselling murder mystery Gone Girl was such a big hit, it was hardly a surprise when the film rights were snapped up for a similar success story – Paula Hawkins‘ The Girl on a Train. The book was exciting and intense and I read it quicker than usual but it was certainly no Gone Girl. The same can be said for the movie adaptation; it tries to be Gone Girl but it’s not and it’s definitely not as strong as the book.

Emily Blunt stars as Rachel, an alcoholic who is obsessed with her ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux) and his new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson). She constantly observes her old house while she commutes into Manhattan from the suburbs (it was London in the book) and also pays attention to the home a few doors down and its inhabitants Megan (Haley Bennett) and Scott (Luke Evans). One day, she notices Megan kissing another man and soon enough Megan is missing. Rachel herself was placed in the town that night so she’s a suspect – but did she do it?

Similar to Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train is told from different perspectives  – Rachel, Megan and Anna – and while this technique does help expose some secrets or explain the truth since Rachel is a very unreliable narrator, it slowed down the tension of the main Rachel storyline. Some Megan and Anna scenes could have been cut because they didn’t seem necessary to the central plot. At some points I was just like, ‘Can we get on with it please?’ because it was taking too long to get going.

In the very beginning, the movie switches perspectives and time frames are all over the place and that’s quite hard to follow and while this is very loyal to the book, it’s too messy and it could have been simplified for the film. This structure also makes it obvious who do it before it’s explicitly said so it takes the power and shock out of the ‘big reveal’. The casting kinda gives it away as well!

It boasts a very impressive cast, which also includes Edgar Ramirez, Allison Janney, Laura Prepon, and Lisa Kudrow. Blunt was perfect for Rachel, they don’t put a pretty face on alcoholism and she looks terrible and she’s not likeable. This is so refreshing. Even though you wanted to shake her to stop her doing stupid things, you were also striving for her to get to the bottom of it all. Bennett was my second favourite – Megan is so emotionally vulnerable and she displayed this well. The guys did fine but their performances didn’t stand out and ditto for Ferguson. I loved Janney and Kudrow, who both did a lot with little.

I loved the book and I really wanted to love the film as much but it just wasn’t as intense and exciting as I wanted it to be. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not awful by any means. It is still gripping and I enjoyed it but it didn’t reach my expectations.

In cinemas Wednesday 5th October 

Trackbacks

  1. […] Okay, so this hasn’t received the stellar reviews we had all been expecting but I would still recommend you check it out. It is still good (just not amazing) – it is gripping, shocking and features an impressive performance from Emily Blunt, who plays an alcoholic who becomes involved in a missing person’s investigation. It also stars Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, with brilliant small appearances from Laura Prepon and Lisa Kudrow. Released today – you can read my review here. […]

  2. […] killer/murder mysteries on TV but they just haven’t been done right on film in a while, like The Girl on the Train, and I was confident The Snowman, based on the Jo Nesbo book, could change that -but unfortunately […]

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