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The Girl On The Train Review

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Changing the setting from London to Westchester, New York, The Help’s Tate Taylor brings Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train, a novel hailed by many as the ‘next Gone Girl’, crafting a deep mystery  thriller than will have second guessing almost everything just about lives up to the above comparison.


Jumping time and view points, the story follows Rachel (Emily Blunt), an alcoholic wreck following her unhappy divorce from Tom (Justin Theroux), Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), the woman Tom left Rachel for, and Anna and Tom’s nanny, Megan (Haley Bennet), who is dealing with her own unhappy marriage. Trying to deal with her divorce, Rachel becomes obsessed with Megan, content with watching her everyday on her daily commute into New York City. That is until Megan goes missing, with Rachel, plagued by blackouts surrounding the events, the only person who knows what happened.

Working from a script by Secretary and Chloe scribe Erin Cressida Wilson, Taylor does a great job of taking the core mystery of the movie and peeling back the layers, the story developing before our eyes with each new piece of information. It’s a very lean thriller, every element presented to us being important to the overall narrative, with all the dark twist and turns coming together in an incredibly satisfying conclusion. It also brings with it a mean streak that could have been too hard to swallow if the character weren’t so accessible. I will say the mystery can be figured out by those paying attention, which leads to a pretty generic finale, but The Girl on the Train is more about the journey than the destination. The script is tightly packed and taut, grabbing your attention from the off, with the only minor niggle being that Anna goes missing for huge swaths of the second act, making it feel that a major part of the story is being held from us.

Despite the attempt to present multiple narratives, this really is Blunt’s show, Rachel being the titular commuter, and she turns out to be the movie’s standout. The ultimate example of an unreliable narrator, she throws herself into the role of this incredibly broken woman, almost always on the verge of breaking down. You immediately feel for her the minute she is introduced, and even when the movie goes out of its way to make you think Rachel is the bad guy, you will be totally behind, such is Blunt’s charisma here. Unfortunately, the rest of the cats don’t fare as well, with the exception of Bennet, whose own personal story delivers some of the movies more heartbreaking moments.

Superbly crafted, and only really let down by a predictable finale, The Girl on the Train is an immensely intriguing mystery, with a career best performance from Emily Blunt at its heart.

 




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The Movie Bit: The Girl On The Train Review
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