Friday, October 7

REVIEW: The Girl on the Train

Directed by Tate Taylor
2016 Drama
1 hour 52 minutes
From Universal

Emily Blunt
Haley Bennett
Rebecca Ferguson
Justin Theroux
Luke Evans
Edgar Ramirez
Allison Janney
Laura Prepon

I want my money back.  I want my one hour and 52 minutes back.  I need some sort of antidote to help me forget.  I really don't even want to write this piece and I'd fully understand if you don't want to read it.  It won't be long.

I cannot tell you the last time I watched a lead character this depressing and... spoiler alert... she never improves.  She is a raging alcoholic, subject to blackouts, and the poster child for being a victim.  I instantly disliked her which would make me not want to root for her and without that, this film goes nowhere.

If we must, I'll tell you it concerns a deeply-depressed divorcee who rides a train past her old neighborhood and sees a resident she never knew kissing a man not her husband on her balcony.  The woman turns up missing and Vera Victim ends up becoming a suspect.  What good fortune for her.

Some have called it a thriller.  The only thrill for me was seeing the end pop up on the screen.  It is poorly written if not just plain poorly crafted... dull, confusing, jumping all over the place in time, frustrating use of flashbacks, including those incredibly brief ones that are designed to illuminate what characters are talking about.  In other words, choppy, vague, patchwork editing.

I was turned on to the reviews (and bravo to you folks who did them... you reeled me in) and felt the moody atmosphere and the plot of a woman's disappearance would be similar to Gone Girl. All of that is true but why couldn't it have been executed better? It felt like it got away from the writer and director. Somebody forgot about the script.  It all just sort of sits there.

Some have called it a mystery.  Someone needs to take this out of the theaters (it's been done before), go see some mysteries and start over.  Mysteries need to offer some twists and turns along the way without giving away too much.  It's fun to get some clues along the way and sometimes be right or even wrong, but feed me something to get me and keep me involved.  By and large that was never done so guess what?  I never cared.  Additionally even before we knew who did it, I'd figured it out.  No great shakes on my part... and no great shakes on the writer's part either.  

What are we offered instead?  Watching the ridiculous comings and goings of an often incoherent character... scene after scene of spending time with a whiny drunk.  It's like the writers wanted us to be hit over the head with the fact that she's a drunk when it was perfectly clear from the beginning.

Ok, here's a couple of nice things.  I liked the very appropriately moody music and it had great production design.  I also liked most of the actors although that's not to be read as praising their acting... I simply think they were well cast.  My favorite was Luke Evans (Gaston in the upcoming live version of Beauty and the Beast) as the missing woman's husband and the always enjoyable Allison Janney was a savvy detective.  I found it interesting that the missing woman, Haley Bennett, very much resembled Rosamund Pike of Gone Girl fame. I suspect that was intentional.  I may have to miss the next four Emily Blunt movies.

Ok, now what do I have around here in Rodgers and Hammerstein?

Next posting:
Still another movie review


  1. Girl on the Train tops box office openings at 24.7 million. Guess these fools are voting for Trump! Deplorable...

  2. And I bloody hell helped them achieve that amount. Grrrr.