Sunday, October 9, 2016

Movie Review #498: "The Girl on the Train" (2016)

Movie"The Girl on the Train"
Director: Tate Taylor
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 52 minutes
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An alcoholic divorcee named Rachel (Emily Blunt) gets entangled in a missing persons case when a woman named Megan (Haley Bennett), whom Rachel had a fantasy obsession about, disappears. Matters only get worse when it turns out Megan was the nanny of Rachel's ex-husband (Justin Theroux) and his new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), making Rachel a prime suspect. 

"The Girl on the Train" is directed by Tate Taylor with a screenplay by Erin Cressida Wilson. It is adapted from the best selling novel of the same name "that shocked the world," written by Paula Hawkins. It stars Emily Blunt as Rachel, a divorced alcoholic who spends her time riding the train and looking at the lives of other people. She develops little fantasies about the people she sees from the window on the train. One couple in particular, Megan and Scott, played by Haley Bennett and Luke Evans, is her favorite couple to watch. Though she doesn't know them, she sees them as the ideal couple and the embodiment of true love. All of this changes one day when she sees something that destroys her fantasy, enraging her about something similar that happened in her past. She is extremely upset about what she sees and drinks herself into a bit of a stooper, getting off the train at the stop where this mystery couple lives. The next day, Megan goes missing, and when it turns out she was the nanny of Rachel's ex-husband Tom and his new wife Anna, played by Justin Theroux and Rebecca Ferguson, Rachel, who has provoked the ire and concern of Anna by constantly hounding Tom even after their divorce, becomes a suspect in Megan's disappearance as it turns out they live only a few doors down from Megan.

This is a film we have very much been looking forward to because of its stellar cast and its intriguing, thrilling premise. It is a mystery with a lot of moving parts, and unfortunately, those parts move very, very slowly, much like the hour hand on a grandfather clock. The story focuses on the three women Rachel, Anna, and Megan, each whom have intersecting lives with one another. The timeline of the film jumps back and forth between moments in these women's lives, making the aforementioned moving parts that much more annoying to follow. The vast majority of Megan's parts are told via flashbacks for obvious reasons. Other portions are told from each woman's perspective, meaning there are unreliable narrators with hosts of problems between the three of them. This is done in a way that makes this story become a whodunit, mysterious thriller. Rachel has periods of time where she blacks out from being wasted, so the audience uncovers the holes in Rachel's memory alongside her as the film progresses. Sadly, this tactic fails because it isn't really that mysterious. At the end of this mystery lies a culprit, and that culprit is blatantly obvious, and though "The Girl on the Train" tries to be shocking, we figured out what's going on long before the reveal actually happens, and we didn't even read the book. We never get the jaw-dropping Keyser Soze moment we crave from a whodunit like this and feel very underwhelmed by the entire premise as a whole. None of it comes together, and when it does, it's boring and sort of a mess.

Whether it is Tate Taylor's execution of the film or Erin Cressida Wilson's adaptation of the novel that fails, something really makes "The Girl on the Train" a huge, underwhelming bummer. It's not all a complete loss, luckily. Though the story is weak, the acting is extremely good. Emily Blunt is very believable in her role, pulling off the alcoholic, stumbling, foggy persona well, even though she's never quite as frumpy as the makeup team thought she would be. Blunt single-handedly saves this film from being a complete trainwreck, no pun intended. The rest of the cast is great as well, though Blunt is the true standout. Unfortunately, good acting can't help the pacing and boring drudgery contained in the vast majority of "The Girl on the Train." Save this one for a Netflix rental.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 4.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 44%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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