“The Girl on the Train” is not a complete wreck, but definitely not a smooth ride either.
Emily Blunt plays an alcoholic train passenger who obsesses over a couple that appear to be perfect in every way, until she catches the wife-played by Haley Bennett- having an affair.
That’s the least of her problems, as the cheating wife winds up missing, with Blunt’s character being the main culprit.
Based on the best-selling British novel by Paula Hawkins, the film chose to adopt multiple perspectives of a singular story that creates a very interesting set-up.
Having been a New York Times best seller, it echoes the success of “Gone Girl,” which has similar genre ties to this adaptation, as well as a highly praised for its theatrical adaptation.
Taking the time to introduce the characters can make for a great mystery-drama, until it becomes clear that this film does nothing with these multiple viewpoints.
Sure we get the idea that something will go somewhere, but this is where the movie begins its bumpy ride to mediocrity.
As soon as the mystery of the story comes to play, obvious betrayals and obvious unfolding is told through the narration.
Right down to the predictable reveal towards the last half of the film.
Halfway through the movie, there should be a police investigation over the missing wife, but it’s like the cops decided to pack it in and stay in the background for the rest of the film.
Meanwhile, while the real case was actually being solved, more flashbacks, dream sequences and disorienting camera work tried to reflect Danny Elfman’s score, which felt boring, uninspired and generic.
Conflict was also a point of interest that was done well, but had its issues.
Just when things decide to escalate, boom, nothing but empty threats, angry faces, and no pay-offs until they decide that maybe there really is enough fake blood before the credits roll.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a problem if there were interesting characters that moved the story along.
Blunt’s performance was incredible to watch, as she was able to provide a portrait of pain and loss from facial expressions and weak murmurings.
Bennett does her best deadpan Jennifer Lawrence impression, as she portrays the cheating wife, and kind of throws the themes of the entire story into a loop.
Everyone else just barely gets enough screen time to provide any real depth to their one-dimensional characters.
As much as this film tries to be like “Gone Girl,” much of what happened throughout the movie when it comes to Blunt’s character is disjointed, and cliché.
There are times where equality of genders and seeing a person for who they really are is what makes this film an interesting mystery, only for it to contradict a character’s actions.
For instance, it was interesting to see a protagonist, a genuine character that has flaws, that was instantly relatable to both genders alike.
Later in the story however, they have her make the worst decisions and off-the-wall actions that probably made a lot more sense in the book.
As with any adaptation, the film fails to highlight the real meat and narrative found in books, only vague cliff notes, and scratching the surface.
Stay for Blunt’s performance, and watch the rest of the film chug along the tracks as this appears to be the most confusing fall film that will neither surprise nor shock, but maybe provide cheap thrills.
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