So my return to reviewing movies is The Girl on the Train. An adaptation of an incredibly popular book, that I haven’t read, GOTT tells the story of a girl on a train (No way!?) who travels past her old neighbourhood and, trying to be as non spoilery as possible, her involvement with the people from her past.
With a couple of actors I really like in Emily Blunt (Sicario), Luke Evans (The Hobbit) and Rebecca Ferguson (MI: Rogue Nation) sprinkled in with lesser known people to me like Haley Bennett I was optimistic for the adaptation. I have not seen anything from director Tate Taylor and i have no attachment to the book, so to me going in it was an interesting looking psychological drama/thriller. As I saw this a few days after release it seems like most people were enjoying it if they hadn’t read the book, and didn’t like it much if they had read it, so if you have read the book my opinion is probably going to be different to yours.
That all being said, the best I can do is say I didn’t dislike the film. The story was, for me anyway, pretty predictable and after the first 45-60 minutes i wasn’t surprised by much that the plot threw at me except for the very end. There are several twists and turns throughout, but once you begin to get a grasp on 2 or 3 of the characters I could see where the story was going to end up, and sure enough the key points followed the expected pattern.
At times its easy to lose track of where you are in the film due to the use of flashbacks that are signposted throughout, but the cut back to the present day is never flagged so it can take a second to get your bearings when these transitions happen. It’s a slightly unusual technique and I’m not sure it works terrifically. Anything that takes you out of the movie is a bad move to me, and this stood out to me, even if it was just for a few seconds every 15-20 minutes.
If the story and some of the cuts are a average, the best part of the film is most certainly the performances, with Emily Blunt showing her range with a captivating performance. She continues to be one of my favourite performers in Hollywood today. The last 3 films I have seen her in, Edge of Tomorrow and Sicario the other two, she has portrayed 3 wildly different characters and she’s one of the best there is right now. Rebecca Ferguson and Luke Evans are the other actors i have seen before and they both deliver solid showings, but they’re outshone by Blunt. Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux and Edgar Ramirez round out the main cast, and nobody gives a bad performance, just nobody really stands out particular.
The Girl on the Train does a good job of showing you Blunt’s characters perspective and making you sympathise for her. Unfortunately that only just makes up for the poor execution of the flashback sequences and the plodding pace of the movie. It feels like a two and half hour film when its actually a few minutes shy of the 2 hour mark, and it is never a good thing when a movie feels longer than it was. For those of you who enjoy watching a great actress give a stellar performance, its worth seeing just for Emily Blunt. If you want a good psychological thriller, give this a miss and pick up Gone Girl on DVD.
4/10 – Signal Failure delays Girl on the Train.