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Review - The Girl on the Train

By midlandsmovies, Oct 10 2016 02:23PM

The Girl on the Train (2016) Dir. Tate Taylor

Having not read the book I came in cold to this adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ novel which stars Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow) as alcoholic Rachel Watson. She rides the train to New York each day half-remembering her drunken past whilst viewing the idyllic neighbourhood she once lived in before her split from her husband.

Her dreamy drink-infused recollections mix with her anger and self-destructiveness as she attempts to cope with the loss of the life she once had. At the same time she views another seemingly happy couple - Scott (Luke Evans) and Megan Hipwell (Haley Bennett) – who she passes each day and admires their romantic liaisons on their balcony from the train's windows.

With her ex-husband (Justin Theroux) now shacked up with the woman he cheated with (Anna - played by Rebecca Ferguson) Rachel uses her anger to try and protect others' fidelity. Her intrigue is peaked when she sees Megan appearing to cosy up with her psychiatrist Dr. Kamal Abdic (Édgar Ramírez) instead of her partner. Attempting to get involved with a subject close to her heart, her alcoholic black outs leave her unable to remember how she got home with injuries on her head. When Megan disappears, the gaps in her memory make her a suspect along with the men involved in Megan's life.

Without saying too much more, the film is an effective dark thriller shown in a flashback format and Blunt’s central performance is what anchors the movie. Her distant looks combined with slurred speech and bouts of outrageous behaviour are a seedy joy to watch and she is helped by a great cast of supporting actors.

Haley Bennett and Rebecca Ferguson complete a triumvirate of talented actresses projecting confidence, frailty and natural emotions alongside the more brutish performances from the male threesome of Theroux, Evans and Ramirez. The complex plot sees accusations pointing at all parties whilst a smattering of morbid themes, bleak violence and clandestine encounters made it a sleazy pleasure. The score is also great with low bass sounds invoking lurking terrors and I was even more shocked this came from Danny Elfman whose familiar traits are unrecognisable here.

The pacing was great with information slowly given to the audience that mirrored Blunt’s alcoholic-fused recollections whilst Allison Janney as Detective Sgt. Riley and Lisa Kudrow as Martha were small but great additions to the cast.

With dream-like sequences helping the audience fill in the gaps, the filmmaker keeps viewers guessing along with Blunt and this effective style allowed the narrative to develop organically like an unreliable eyewitness.

At times it fell into melodrama but overall The Girl on the Train stays on track to deliver an effective mystery thriller with superb performances and a decadent tale of deceit and dishonesty.


Midlands Movies Mike

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