The Girl On The Train (2016)

The Girl on The Train.jpgA Derailed Journey

Director: Tate Taylor
Running Time: 112 Minutes
Starring: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Allison Janney, Édgar Ramírez, Lisa Kudrow, Laura Prepon

Every morning, Rachel (Emily Blunt) commutes to the city by train, which passes by her old house. Her ex-husband, Tom (Justin Theroux), still lives there, sharing it with Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), the woman he cheated on Rachel with and left her for, as well as their child. Unable to get over this event in her life (especially with her inability to have children), Rachel has turned to alcoholism as a coping mechanism, which tends to result in her blacking out.

During her commutes, she becomes obsessed with Megan (Haley Bennett), a woman who lives down from Tom with her husband, Scott (Luke Evans). Despite not knowing a thing about her, Rachel idolises Megan, seeing her as the embodiment of everything she once was, and once had in her life. But one day, Rachel catches Megan kissing a man who's not her husband, causing her to spiral. She wakes up the next morning, injured and, due to a blackout, unable to recall her previous actions. With Megan turning out to be missing, it looks as though Rachel could be responsible.

It's certainly a convoluted plot, especially when you consider that's just describing the first act. The script by Erin Cressida Wilson is a mixture of poor decisions, starting with the structure. As the film switches between the perspectives of three different characters, the resulting film moves at a sluggish pace. It's a storytelling device which can work well when utilised effectively, but this feels like a lazy lift from page to the screen.
Image result for the girl on the train film youtube
Regularly on show is the painful dialogue, which feels reminiscent of a cheap TV movie from the early '00s. Bizarrely, this aspect takes precedence over development for numerous characters, and especially over any kind of likeability. While numerous films have delivered captivating stories without a likeable lead, that doesn't work here, as we're meant to care for the three leads, and nothing in the writing gives a good enough reason to do just that.

There seems to be quite the disinterest in one particular character, who remains in the background until third act revelations come around. This tactic should feel like eye-opening extensions of the character, but due to poor handling, instead feels like a cartoonish turn of events. The disbelief shared by one character feels genuine, because it's what the audience are left feeling.

Thank goodness for the performances, as they allow the assembled cast to put more care into their characters than the lacklustre script ever attempted. Emily Blunt is the clear standout, perfectly capturing how lost her character is, as she suffers through alcoholism and the constant reminders of how her life has changed. Special mention must go to the cinematography, which captures the woozy nature of Blunt's alcoholism in an effective manner, allowing the audience to share in her confused state of mind.

It's clear The Girl On The Train was made with the hopes of captivating moviegoers, similarly to how Gone Girl did a couple years ago. But what comes to screen is more resembling of a trashy Channel 5 movie. An infuriating picture that will make one want to throw a plate of devilled eggs.