The Girl On The Train - This Movie Train Rocks
Dir: Tate Taylor
Starring Emily Blunt, Justin Theroux, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans, Lisa Kudrow, Edgar Ramirez, Alison Janney
So just how thrilling is this year’s female-centric thriller? Quite thrilling – even though it lacks both the shock of the new and the, well, shocks of Gone Girl, a film to which it has constantly been compared – understandable, both based on best-sellers, both led by two great Brit actresses, both have “Girl” in the title.
To his credit, Taylor has marshalled all his elements and delivered an effectively slick film here, mixing time frames and multi-character perspectives to great effect. On the downside, the story – despite the way it moves attention and POV – is by no means as clever as it would like us to think it is, with an ending that is not only inevitable but can be spotted a good distance from its final act reveal. On the plus side, it has Emily Blunt on absolutely brilliant form as a woman with a serious drinking issue (and thank God the filmmakers didn’t try to sanitize that – yes Russell Brand going to AA at the end of Arthur, we’re looking at you, you cop out monkey!!!)
Blunt dominates this film – as indeed she is meant to – as the woman with alcohol-induced black out issues, struggling to come to terms with her potential role in the murder of a woman she has watched and idealised from her daily train commute. Haley Bennett (so good recently in The Magnificent Seven) as said woman is also very strong here.
Taylor (aided and abetted by a strong score from Danny Elfman) does a fine job of creating mood and keeping his audience as unbalanced as a drunk Blunt. And even when the obvious becomes too obvious to ignore, he still has a few moments up his sleeve – a definite twist as it were, but not in that way.
Overall, The Girl On The Train involves without ever really surprising, never takes you to the edge of your seat but ensures you’ll stay firmly planted in it throughout. Whilst Emily Blunt, both sober and wasted, has firmly put herself in the running for this awards season. (About time too.)
(In the interests of transparency and approaching a sense of verisimilitude – this review was written on a train. But posted in a pub. All bases covered, really.)
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