The Girl on the TrainCultureCinemaMovie reviews
Adapted from the best-selling novel of the same name, The Girl on the Train tells the story of Rachel (Emily Blunt), a downtrodden alcoholic who, devastated by her divorce, spends her days drunk, going back and forth on the Hudson Line commuter train. On her journey, she passes by the same house everyday and begins to fantasise about the couple living there, Scott and Megan Hipwell (Luke Evans and Haley Bennett), imagining them to have the perfect life. One day she sees something shocking and quickly becomes entangled in a web of deceit, at the heart of which lies a murdered woman. Rachel must confront what she has become as she tries to work out truth from fiction – but can anyone trust a drunk?
Although The Girl on the Train is, on the surface, a classic psychological crime thriller, director Tate Taylor has done an excellent job of maintaining the darkness at the heart of the story, giving as much focus to the character development of the three women, Rachel, Megan and Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), and to the theme of addiction, as to the thriller plot. In the novel, these three characters narrate their respective parts, and the film attempts to imitate this by giving each woman her own “chapter”. From time to time, one is left feeling that the depth of the characters on-screen is hinted at rather than fully explored, yet arguably, this is an inevitable side-effect of converting a 300-page novel into a one and a half hour long film.
Where the movie truly shines is in its performances. Blunt is brilliant as Rachel, and any criticisms that she is “too pretty” for the role should be ignored as irrelevant. The multitude of close-ups throughout the film bring the audience unsettlingly close to the pain and anger that Blunt emits, often just through facial expressions. In fact, all of the cast perform well in what are often deeply unlikeable roles: Ferguson, in particular, manages to make Anna, who could easily have become a “the other woman” caricature, into a fleshed out human character.
The Girl on the Train thunders quietly with pain, particularly that of the three women who for differing reasons find themselves trapped in their own lives. This is worth seeing for the honest portrayal of alcoholism and a woman whose life is almost destroyed by it.
The Girl on the Train is released nationwide on 5th October 2016.
Watch the trailer for The Girl on the Train here: