HOLLYWOOD—Some movies are so twisted that you have to watch a second time to fully take in precisely what was just witnessed on the big screen. “The Girl on the Train,” the big screen adaptation of the popular book by Paula Hawkins has finally arrived and it is full of surprises people.
So many people have compared this thriller to the 2014 thriller “Gone Girl,” but these are two completely different movies. “The Girl on the Train” is a mystery from start to finish, and I would argue has a narrative that is so invigorating you can’t take your eyes away from the screen.
This thrill ride is crafted by director Tate Taylor who is responsible for the successful adaptation of the 2011 drama “The Help.” Taylor has a special touch behind the camera that is quite alluring. Taylor’s decision to utilize distinct shots to convey emotions of guilt, fear, sadness, anxiety, stress, and so many other emotions for each character in this movie sheds plenty of doubt on the viewer.
The movie stars Emily Blunt as Rachel Watson, a woman on a path of pure destruction and just overwhelming sympathy when we first meet her on the train. She gives the viewer a slice of her once happy life that all but crumbled at the hands of her alcoholism, her inability to conceive and her cheating husband, Tom (Justin Theroux) with their real estate agent Anna Boyd (Rebecca Ferguson).
This is just a slice of the movie, because the narrative first introduces the audience to the 3 female characters whose lives all collide in an unexpected way. After being introduced to Rachel, we then meet Megan Hipwell (Haley Bennett). Bennett is a revelation in the role that is not only sexy, but quite demanding. Megan is a character who is beyond flawed, and Bennett finds a way to bring this character to life, not just through her emotional outbursts, but through some of the most subtle facial expressions that scream tons of words. Megan is married to Scott (Luke Evans), and while all seems happily ever-after, behind closed doors the audience knows so much more is taking place.
The great mystery begins, when Megan disappears, and Rachel finds herself in the middle of a mystery because she was so drunk she has no idea what transpired that fateful night when the woman whose life she idolized, she was hoping to save. Alison Janney gives a somewhat passable performance as Detective Riley who comes to Rachel looking for information about Megan’s disappearance. And while one would suspect the police to connect the pieces to the puzzle, it is Rachel herself, who pieces things together by going cold turkey and immersing herself into the life of all these power players.
Blunt, is phenomenal in the role. I honestly, cannot imagine another actress fitting the part. Blunt finds a way to convey emotions with a straight face that would be nearly impossible for an actual alcoholic to do. She delivers a tour-de force performance that not only should critics take notice to, but Blunt should be a name in contention come awards season in the Best Actress race people.
I will warn that this movie gave me glimpses of a thriller that places all the clues in front of the audience and then throws subtle curveballs to throw you off. If you’re not paying attention to the detail you will miss vital clues. That’s the fun of this movie, solving the mystery before the truth is unveiled. Threw are a few twists along the way that will indeed surprise the audience, there was one twist in particular that totally threw me off and I couldn’t believe I didn’t see that coming from a mile away.
“The Girl on the Train” proves that there are still writers and directors out there who can craft a movie for adults. Why do I say that? This is indeed a smart, clever, intelligent movie that aims to showcase when a movie is done right it can be heralded not just for the acting, but the directing and the writing as well.