It’s difficult being original in Hollywood. So many ideas have been re-done or too many sequels have dried the well of originality. The trick is to make something familiar feel fresh. ‘The Girl on the Train’ is a good example. Taking its cue from Alfred Hitchcock’s directorial thrillers, especially ‘Rear Window’, it crafts a compelling narrative. The guessing game of completing a puzzle is half the fun of an unoriginal but still reasonably captivating film.
Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) is a divorcee regularly commuting to work by train. Continually fantasizing about the relationship of her neighbours, Megan (Haley Bennett) and Scott (Luke Evans), helps lessen the mediocrity of the journey. When witnessing something from the train window, she learns Megan has vanished. With her life quickly placed in great peril, Rachel is caught in a tangled web with the beast of deception entangling her within its clutches.
Based on the novel by Paula Hawkins, ‘The Girl on the Train’ is a competent puzzler. Rachel’s inner demons are a constant barrier to unravelling clues with her ex-husband and his new wife also entering the fray. Their presence cloud her judgement further diluting her already frayed thought process. Tate Taylor directs these elements with flair despite the script’s poor presentation. Continually scattering the time-line to scramble events makes the story difficult to follow with it not resolving until nearly the end.
The plot is also very contrived with a reliance on high co-incidences becoming tiresome. Blunt and her co-stars rise above such inadequacies by giving strong performances. Even if the film slightly goes off the rails, the earnest conviction of their characters shines through. The cinematography and music is suitably bleak, generating the right amount of foreboding atmosphere needed.
There have been better thrillers made, although ‘The Girl on the Train’ is worth checking out. It offers its share of predictable thrills but is diverting enough. The guessing game is effectively kept until the end with the final shocking crescendo reaching an horrific aria worthy of any tragic opera.
Movie Review Rating out of 10: 6
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
Agree with Patrick's Movie Review? Then please use the comment box.
Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.