Reviewed byJack HuitsonVote: 5/10/10
First off, I will admit that I've not read the bestselling book thatThe Girl on the Train is based on so my thoughts are based purely onthe movie adaptation.
I usually love a fast paced thriller with twists and turns to keep memetaphorically on the edge of cinema seat. The trailers had led me tobelieve this might be the case for The Girl on the Train. How wrong Iwas.
The screenplay and direction were often sloppy while the editing was somessy it often felt like scenes were pieced together purely at random.I really struggled to warm to or identify with any of the characters ina film where all men are portrayed as controlling and deplorable andany sense of female empowerment is lost amidst the absurdity of therelentlessly twisting plot.
I have to call out Emily Blunt's stunning lead performance - she stealsevery scene she's in with a nuanced, conflicted and honest portrayal ofa complex and intriguing character. Quality support performances fromLuke Evans and Haley Bennet help but don't save the movie and mostother characters are so slight and one-dimensional that they fade intothe background.
The Girl on the Train felt like Gone Girl without the tension, emotionor drama.
Reviewed byTheLittleSongbirdVote: 3/10/10
The book is a terrific and engrossing read, with a lot of tension andsuspense, a clear timeline and while the characters are unpleasant youunderstand why they are.
In comparison 'The Girl on the Train' is down there among the mostunderwhelming book-to-film adaptations, with everything that made thebook so good being completely lost in translation in the film. Howeverit also is a failure on its own terms as an overall film, one doesn'teven need to have read the book or have knowledge of it to stillconsider 'The Girl on the Train' a disappointment. If anybody likes thefilm, that's absolutely fine and good for them, as a hugemystery-thriller fan this was one of the year's biggest letdowns whilenot quite being bad enough to be one of the year's worst.
Comparisons to 'Gone Girl', which has a similar tone and a couple ofsimilar themes, and almost universally negatively is understandable andinevitable. Will try and keep the comparison brief, to me 'Gone Girl'is the vastly superior film, actually being a good, no great, film. Itisn't perfect, faltering at the end with a conclusion that feels abruptand illogical, but it's better made and directed (the direction was oneof the best things about that film, while the direction here dooms thisfilm), the "Cool Girl" monologue alone is much better than any of thedialogue in this film, that had tension, suspense, emotion anddelicious black but subtle humour and Rosamund Pike's performance isone of that year's best performances and in the top end of the bestOscar-nominated performances of this decade.
What saves 'The Girl on the Train' from crashing and burning completelyis the acting, which is terrific on the whole. The women do fare betterthan the men, though the men, with Justin Theroux being the mostbelievable, are no slouches either. Emily Blunt's lead performance inparticular is sensational. The exceptions though are Rebecca Ferguson,who looks lost with a character completely stripped of what made herinteresting before, and Edgar Ramirez who comes over as annoying. DannyElfman's score is one of his more understated and memorable ones inrecent years, not his best work by any stretch but tonally it fits verywell, being soothing yet unsettling.
However, Tate Taylor as director is clearly ill at ease with the darkmaterial, because throughout it's stiff, indifferent and far too muchof one mood. The story is a complete mess, with no tension or suspensewhatsoever and plot twists that are introduced abruptly and areexecuted confusingly, even incomprehensibly, due to the lack of a cleartime line and with little surprises. The pace really drags onconstantly so the film is constantly as dull as dishwater and there isan overload of sex scenes that are also tasteless as well as beingmelodramatic with the subtlety of an axe. In the end, one doesn't carehow it ends and the ending or the revelation of the culprit are notdone particularly well. The culprit's identity is not that shocking andis revealed too early, and then the film meanders on for another halfan hour when the film could easily have ended at the revelation.
Another huge let-down is the very soap-opera-ish, underwritten and veryhalf-baked script, that doesn't do anything to develop the characters,who are nasty without explanation or reason to be so it makes themempty and very difficult to relate to their situations. The productiondesign is good but wasted by the very made for TV way the film is shotand edited. Particularly bad is the haphazard editing.
Overall, doesn't completely crash and burn due to the acting(especially Blunt) and the score but derails very quickly and is atrain-wreck on the whole. 3/10 Bethany Cox
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.