Benjamin Maio Mackay
The Girl on the Train - 2 Stars
Emily Blunt shines in lacklustre film, which should’ve stuck to the novel more and tired to be less like Gone Girl.
THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN is the story of Rachel Watson's life post-divorce. Every day, she takes the train in to work in New York, and every day the train passes by her old house. The house she lived in with her husband, who still lives there, with his new wife and child. As she attempts to not focus on her pain, she starts watching a couple who live a few houses down -- Megan and Scott Hipwell. She creates a wonderful dream life for them in her head, about how they are a perfect happy family. And then one day, as the train passes, she sees something shocking, filling her with rage. The next day, she wakes up with a horrible hangover, various wounds and bruises, and no memory of the night before. She has only a feeling: something bad happened. Then come the TV reports: Megan Hipwell is missing. Rachel becomes invested in the case and trying to find out what happened to Megan, where she is, and what exactly she herself was up to that same night Megan went missing.
The book is written from multiple perspectives and in the opening of the film it too attempts to change perspectives, a technique which isn’t suited to film. Also the amount of new characters, removal of novel subplots and voiceovers don’t work for the film. In the novel because you are aware of how the characters are feeling, so there’s a level of sympathy - however in the film these motives aren’t made clear and everyone comes off as stale, self-centred and horrible. More character development through dialogue would’ve helped to created more likeable characters.
For a 2hr film the last 25 minutes are great, the rest is build up and the jumps forward and backwards in time just add to the convoluted mess that is The Girl on the Train. Emily Blunt, however is phenomenal and even though the script isn’t good and most of the cast fail to give great performances she gleams like a gem. Lisa Kudrow and Laura Prepon are standouts in the ensemble cast. Luke Evans and Justin Theroux fail to impress as the male leads and Hayley Bennett isn’t even worth of mention.
Overall while the book is a fantastic psychological thriller the film fails to be anything. If you’re going to watch it do it for Emily Blunt alone.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Palace Nova Cinemas