LOL, slight change in the title of my movie reviews column. And I’ll tell you why: I don’t watch most of the movies in the cinema (surrpise!) but only once the DVD/Blu-Ray becomes available. This usually means a delay of two months after the cinematic debut. Therefor I’ve decided to call this column O@tB from now on. Of course I won’t if I forget my splendid idea until my next movie review …
Well, let’s get on with today’s review, which I also almost forgot. We watched the movie like 2 or 3 weeks ago and I wasn’t inspired at all to write or even think about it again. Ok, here we go:
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.
This film has a great premise which promises a real crime drama … promises, yeah. Unfortunately it’s not. Oh, this movie has not one but three female lead characters, each one with their own set of (first world) problems, so it’s a great psychological thriller, right? Nope.
Let’s get one thing straight right away: Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson and the truly outstanding Emily Blunt are doing great jobs here. They are far too good for being wasted playing the one-dimensional cardboard cutout characters The Girl on the Train‘s screenplay reduces them to.
I haven’t read the bestselling novel by Paula Hawkins but from what I hear her novel was badly butchered by Erin Cressida Wilson for the big screen adaption. Of course you can’t portay complex characters in the runtime of a mere movie. But did she really have to make them all so fukn bland? These women have no lifes.
The dialogue in the screenplay is also all over the place and reaches from ok-ish to downright cringey and makes sure the movie becomes tonally unhinged. And we all thought it’s just Rachel (Emily Blunt) who’s supposed to fly off the rails. Nhn, this script is so weak, it can’t hold the plot together.
Add to that Tate Taylor‘s hapless direction and you end up with a huge disappointment. After the gigantic marekting campaign and such a stellar cast, to see it all being executed in such a pedestrian way is really ridonculous.
Did I say stellar cast? Yes, even the supporting roles were cast pretty darn good. So we had all the ingredients of a huge ensemble spectacle. Like on Murder on the Orient Express scale. How could it all go so wrong?
Not only the screenplay was all wrong, the fact that nobody noticed the source material was considerably too bulky to compress it into a single movie was probably what triggered the catastrophe. The Girl on the Train should’ve been made as a mini series for TV. That’s where it belongs, that’s where it would’ve been a shiny example of great television.
Our three main girlies could’ve profited from better characterisation, as would’ve most of the supporting characters as well. Emily Blunt plays her trainwreck character so very well, I for one would’ve loved to learn more about her. I can’t believe that she’s so fukn focussed on her past marriage that she’d turn into an almost bum-like, unemployed alcoholic.
Not that Megan and Anna (Bennett, Ferguson) were more exciting personalities. Husband, kid, household. What woman in 2017 has such warped preferences? As I said already, these pretty good actresses were wasted on such bland decal characters.
Only positive aspect of this boring movie was the camera by Charlotte Bruus Christensen. She really tried her best to catch Rachel’s alcohol-drenched, blurry, unfocussed view of the world. Combined with Blunt’s first class performance we got the desired “unreliable narrator” effect. Just a shame that Blunt’s portrayal of Rachel’s unhingedness is the only halfway’s interesting thing about her Rachel character.
CONCLUSION: Shame, shame, shame! This could’ve become a second Gone Girl, or, if not that it would’ve been a super suspense/psychological thriller in its own right. Too bad it was cut to size by an uninspired production team. This was a very very boring unbalanced movie that couldn’t decide if it was just a psychological character drama or a crime thriller. In the end it was neither. And not one nice or bad or at least slightly interesting character in the whole extended cast, so no-one to follow or root for. Not even my girl Emily Blunt. 😦
Here’s some YT movie reviewers. I can tell you they mostly watched the same movie as me. 😉 Doesn’t happen too often. Only our British friend, the BBC’s very own Mark Kermode … dunno what flick he’d watched. But let’s stay on topic and start with the female reviewers:
“Very jarring and not very organic”
“Not a thriller, a very slow burning drama.”
“The reviews right now are a little bit too harsh.”
“I was shocked, absolutely shocked …”
Ok, let’s see what the boys have watched:
“This movie you have to watch twice but only want to watch once.”
“Pretty much emotionally weightless.”
“The thing that really held it together was Emily Blunt.”