Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Movie Review: THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (2016)


Director: Tate Taylor
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Starring: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans, Justin Theroux, Edgar Ramirez, Allison Janney
Runtime: 112 min
Rating: R for violence, sexual content, language and nudity
Purchasing Links: DVD, Blu-ray

Read the review after the jump.


Review by Popa Razvan

"The Girl on the Train" might have been marketed as a run-of-the-mill whodunit thriller about a woman who stumbles onto a strange mystery. But there's more to it, and it's far from simple.

The film is based on the novel by Paula Hawkins (changing the London setting for New York), and it starts out by giving us the perspective of three women. Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) is an alcoholic recovering from a bad divorce, who rides the train to New York every day and becomes obsessed with a seemingly perfect couple she observes every time the train passes by their house. They represent everything she wanted her life to be. Until one day, when she witnesses the woman kissing a stranger. The woman in question is Megan Hipwell (Haley Bennett), and her life is far from perfect. She wants to reinvent herself and feels captive in her marriage to a controlling husband (Luke Evans). She confides in her therapist (Edgar Ramirez) and attempts to seduce him. She also works as a babysitter for the Watsons, Tom (Justin Theroux) and Anna (Rebecca Ferguson). The latter, Anna Boyd, is our third woman and Tom's new wife. Tom is Rachel's ex-husband. Small world you might say. All these characters are set on a collision course when Megan mysteriously disappears and Rachel sets off on a crusade to find out what happened.

The Girl on the Train starring Emily Blunt

The film is directed by Tate Taylor ("The Help"), who does a good job of juggling with the narrative threads, since it's not an easy film to pull off. The brief story layout above is just a schematic representation of the plot and characters, because things become extremely complicated, but I tried to keep things vague as to not set off any spoilers. The movie's main attraction is its unfolding mystery and gradually learning each of these women's story.

Even though it has pacing problems and is overly convoluted ("Gone Girl" this isn't), the film is actually a decent exploration of the dark depths we indulge in as we let our obsessions devour us, and I had much more fun than I expected watching the story twist and turn on its way to a predictable but satisfying conclusion. I expect it's not easy to weave three separate narratives into one coherent and suspenseful story, so I can forgive its problems because I felt that by the end it payed off. Taylor succeeds in generating tension throughout and the characters feel three-dimensional enough to hold our attention.

Haley Bennett in The Girl on the Train

The cast is the film's strongest attribute. The acting highlight of the movie is Emily Blunt. She was nominated for a Golden Globe and BAFTA award for her work in this film, and even though the film itself is far from being awards material, her performance is indeed worthy of accolades. The other solid performance in this film belongs to Bennett's Megan. Everyone else provides adequate supporting turns.

My conclusion is that if you have the patience to sift through the tangled narrative and don't judge it too harshly for its occasional missteps, it's actually a pretty good mystery thriller.



  • Solid casting
  • Emily Blunt delivers pitch perfect performance
  • Decent mystery with complex characaters, depth and good twists
  • Tate Taylor's direction overcomes the convoluted script to deliver a satisfying experience

  • Too convoluted for its own good
  • Pacing problems



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