Rachel seems to have the perfect marriage but when she is unable to have children, it ends in a bitter divorce. She turns to alcohol and her daily train commute to try and distance herself from the past. As she rides by her former home each day, she sees a couple seemingly enjoying everything she lost. Her life takes an even darker turn when she witnesses a shocking event and becomes drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a young woman. She struggles to remember through a vodka-induced haze and soon learns that she’s not the woman she thought she was.
2016, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 52 mins
DTS:X / Master Audio 7.1, 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Starring: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson
Directed by Tate Taylor
The Girl On The Train is based on a best-selling novel so as I watched it, I tried to separate the story from the movie. It’s common for one to say, “the book was better,” but as I have not read it, I could only judge the film on its own merits.
The story is certainly interesting. It gets off to a slow start but the whodunit element shows up about 40 minutes in and there are a few satisfying plot twists, though none will rock your world. There isn’t much here that hasn’t been done before.
Unfortunately, the movie itself is presented in a very abstract fashion. Rather than a linear progression, you get a collection of short scenes and flashes that are only loosely connected. The viewer is forced to remember these brief bits and re-assemble them later to figure out what’s going on. Most of it is explained by the end which is probably the best part of both the movie and the plot.
Emily Blunt does a terrific job as Rachel who struggles just to survive each day. The supporting cast is competent but nothing to get excited about. Blunt pretty much carries the film. In the end, I was left feeling like I’d watched a very adult soap opera. The Girl On The Train is fine as a rental but I can’t imagine watching it a second time.
The image is clean and sharp but extremely limited in its color palette. There are plenty of opportunities to change things up that are missed. Like the New York I remember, it’s cold, dark, and blue with an almost metallic feel. It would have been nice to see the sun once or twice. Contrast is deep with decent black levels so there is no issue with the transfer, just the director’s choices.
Audio is superb with excellent use of ambient surround effects. The train sequences are especially convincing in that you really feel like you’re riding on a Metro North car (yes, I have). Music is extremely sparse which fits the film’s style but I wished for a bit more life there. Overall though, it’s a reference-level mix.
Bonus features total about 35 minutes. Half of that is a large collection of deleted scenes. The rest consists of cast interviews, a look behind the scenes, and commentary from the novel’s author, Paula Hawkins.