“The Girl on the Train” flies off the rails


Image Via Universal Studios

Hannah Reasor, Editor-in-Chief

Books being turned into movies is a common practice that people either love or hate. With the movie adaptation of The Girl on the Train some aspects were a homerun, and some were a swing and a miss.

In The Girl on the Train, director Tate Taylor attempts to fuse the pulsing novel’s mystery with the dark ambience of Gone Girl. Taylor doesn’t compete though. The film’s setting is switched from London to a Hudson/New York area, already stripping the movie of its personality. It’s infused with themes such as marital infidelity and the effects of alcoholism. Sounds familiar? Gone Girl already did that.

Rachel is portrayed as the alcoholic reject of her ex-husband’s previous affair with his current wife. Every day Rachel rides the train into Manhattan, passing by the house that her and her ex-husband lived in. She envies the couple that lives a few doors down from her old home (played by Haley Bennett and Luke Evans) and in a drunken stupor one night heads towards the young couple’s home after witnessing the woman with another man.

Taylor attempts to create a Hitchcock or Fincher feel to his film, but the movie never quite reaches that caliber. He struggles to truly captivate the audience, attempting to lead you in the wrong direction of the mystery. The ending is predictable, however, and almost every “curveball” Taylor tries to throw at the audience, falls short at leading anyone astray.

The director’s forced filming fits perfectly with the almost utterly stiff performance by Justin Theroux, who plays the seemingly unimportant “ex-husband” of Rachel (Emily Blunt). He provides no emotion or any understanding of the character, which tends to lead Blunt’s performance flying off the tracks. Blunt had moments of shining through, as seen previously in other films she’s starred in, but the film did no justice for her, stifling her evident potential for an interesting performance.

There are many suspects to the case of the woman’s death that happens that night. At this point in the film, the audience’s level of care is at its peak, but as the film drags on, the level decreases exponentially until we finally just feel the need to get up and leave.

The film is slightly captivating, all in all, but it lacks the necessary hand of mystery to keep your eyes glued to the screen. Perhaps if Taylor had been able to paint the picture in a less cliché and arbitrary way, maybe then the film could have blossomed to the hype generated around it after the book had garnered so many good reviews.

In theaters now. Go to fandango.com for tickets and showtimes.