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Dan's Review: Lack of intrigue derails "Girl On The Train"

Oct 07, 2016 01:48PM ● Published by Dan Metcalf

Emily Blunt in The Girl on the Train - © 2016 Universal Pictures.

The Girl On The Train (Universal)

Rated R for violence, sexual content, language and nudity.

Starring Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Allison Janney, Édgar Ramírez, Lisa Kudrow, Laura Prepon.

Written by Erin Cressida Wilson, based on  novel by Paula Hawkins.

Directed by Tate Taylor.

GRADE: C+

REVIEW:

Good movie mysteries are hard to come by these days. By the time you’ve seen the trailer, you almost always know there’s a twist, and most times, you figure it out a few minutes into the film (spoiler hazards abound as well, as the digital age continues to invade all privacy). In other words it’s hard to shock audiences anymore, at least without delving into hyper sexual or gratuitous violent content. Additionally, movies like Gone Girl (though very well made) tend to lose their intrigue when you know whodunit, and especially when it’s early in the movie. Such is the case in The Girl On The Train, a movie that’s easy to figure out and not especially entertaining, either.

Emily Blunt stars as Rachel, a sad woman who rides a commuter train to New York every day. From her seat, she daily observes one particular home as the train makes its regular stop along the way. She sees Megan and Scott Hipwell (Haley Bennett & Luke Evans),  an attractive couple that seems to enjoy a happy, loving relationship. She stares out the window and imagines what it would be like to experience such love, especially since her own messy divorce. We also discover that her ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux) and his new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) live just two doors down from the Hipwells with their new baby daughter. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn that Rachel’s divorce from Tom had something to do with her inability to conceive a child, and that Megan works as the baby’s nanny (yes, I know it’s all a little convoluted).

Everything changes when Megan disappears. Rachel is sure someone murdered her, and tries to tell the local police detective Sgt. Riley (Allison Janney) about her suspicions. Riley is skeptical of Rachel, since she cannot remember where she was the night Megan disappeared, due to being in a drunken stupor. As Rachel searches for the truth, her memories begin to coalesce into a “shocking” realization that could put other innocent people at risk.

The Girl On The Train is not a very clever story to begin with. There are plot holes and some head-scratching coincidences that render the film somewhat impotent as a murder mystery, not to mention the telegraphed early revelation of the true villain.

A talented cast and solid performances from Blunt, Bennett and others aren’t enough to keep The Girl On The Train from derailing (ha, ha) into a movie that looks clever, but really isn’t. It seems that the point of the story was to feel sorry for some (or one) of the main characters, but that reduces the movie into more of a soap opera than a taut murder mystery.

 

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