The Girl on the Train: A Slow Ride to the Finish
Review by Jen Rush – 2.5/5 buckets of popcorn
Let’s start with the positives: there were many things that The Girl on the Train did well. At no point were we spoon-fed any of the answers. The mystery was built slowly with the audience left to sort out the “who done it?” on their own terms (until the big reveal, of course). The film attempted a classic thriller style akin to Seven or Gone Girl where it doesn’t assume any level of knowledge from the audience. We are thrown into the complicated lives of the six major characters where we meet Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) who is battling alcoholism and is still facing the reality of her divorce from Tom. She obsesses over Tom’s new marriage and baby, and is fascinated by the woman two doors down (Megan, played by Haley Bennett), who she sees from the train every day. When Megan disappears, Rachel finds herself committed to tracking down the person responsible, while not remembering all of the events from the night in question. Without spoiling anything, believe me when I say that there’s an impressive twist to finish off the film.
Unlike the thrillers that have passed the test of time, The Girl on the Train sadly will not be cherished for years to come. To be frank, the first half of the film is sluggish. The overarching themes of adultery, abuse, divorce and murder produce no likeable characters. Sure, it was a fun riddle to figure out, but once I realized who had done it, I was ready to leave. Rachel doesn’t care to improve her situation, Megan is flaky, Tom is callous and no one seems to have any feeling that isn’t frantic. If anything, it was stressful watching these pretty people (who all look the same, seriously, it took twenty minutes for me to tell Megan and Anna (Tom’s wife) apart) hate each other.
I wish I had read the book to tell you how it compares. I suspect that it does not do the book justice, despite Paula Hawkins (author) having a writing credit. What I can tell you, is that it didn’t live up to my expectations or the hype. I thought that the star-studded cast and direction by Tate Taylor (The Help) would have created a stunning and thrilling adventure. Instead, I sat through 112 minutes of boring dialogue between nasty characters with no suspense and finally something of interest in the very end.