The Girl on the Train review
I’m sure that if I were to ask anyone, they’d talk about some fantasy where there want to help solve some big case and play detective like they did when they were children. I think what some people are getting at is they see a show like CSI or Hawaii Five-O and think that as long as they have a computer, they could find anything from a lost set of keys to a missing child. What TV doesn’t show are the more mundane routines of police work, from the paper work to the long hours of doing nothing. When I tries the stakeouts on my family, I ended up sitting in the garage for hours, wondering how I ended up wasting this much time.
I think the other reason people like to play Sherlock Holmes is that their always fascinated by other people’s lives. The rise of social media has only made us more hungry for the secrets of what our neighbors do when were not reading up on their latest Instagram picture. So when someone goes missing in today’s time, it almost seems more tragic for creepier reasons; we already feel closer to them then we really should, yet hope their found. The Girl on the Train considers a missing woman being sought out by someone with no true business of doing so.
Rachael Watson (played by Emily Blunt) is a sad alcoholic who spends most of her time riding a New York train back and forth while obsessing over her now over marriage to Tom (played by Justin Theroux). Rachael’s life now seems focused on Tom’s new life with Anna (played by Rebecca Ferguson), the real estate agent that’s now his new wife. She also watches Tom’s neighbors, Scott (played by Luke Evans) and Megan Hipwell (played by Haley Bennett).
When riding the train one day, Rachel witnesses Megan having an affair with her psychiatrist, Dr. Kamel Abdic (played by Édgar Ramírez), and immediately feels angry for this woman ruining a “perfect” marriage. When Rachael tries to confront her, she blacks out and wakes up hours later in her apartment. Megan ends up missing and detective sergeant Riley (played by Allison Janney) suspects Rachael due to her past erratic behavior. Wanting to clear her name, Rachael makes friends with Scott and tries to search for Megan herself, while trying to figure out what has been going on during her blackouts.
The Girl on the Train has been advertised as the next Gone Girl type story (which I found totally overrated), so a lot of hype has been set up here. I’d be lying if I said I had little interest, so I was hoping for something interesting. Unfortunately, what were given is a boring, oddly directed soap opera that uses a lot of bad mystery clichés in an attempt to shock it’s audience. I haven’t read the acclaimed novel, so maybe a lot of the material here simply was better on paper.
The best thing about the movie is the performances. Emily Blunt is pretty believable as this sad sack of an alcoholic, though she might have benefited from gaining a little weight to make her more frumpy. I liked both Luke Evans and Haley Bennett as this odd couple with the secrets of the story. So why am I not invested? The direction of Tate Taylor seems very monochrome and stiff, which tries to make the situation depressing, but without much emotion, feels more like a dark ad for a Pottery Barn catalog. Not to mention that while the outdoor and train scenes are staged alright, the houses seem too polished to seem like typical upper middle class families.
I’ll give this two missing peoples milk cartons out of five. I feel bad giving this a bad review as you get a sense that these actors are trying to work with this dull material, but this story really needed a David Fincher or even a Scorsese to really make the plot even juicier. But if the people here are this stiff, then The Girl on the Train can skip this station and I’ll wait for a better movie.