The Girl on the Train review by Bobby Blakey
I love a good thriller, but they are always hit and miss. When the trailers for The Girl on the Train based on the book of the same name by Paula Hawkins, I was instantly intrigued. The film sports a great cast including Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez, Laura Prepon, Allison Janney, and Lisa Kudrow with The Help director Tate Taylor at the helm, but does it capture the essence of what made the book so popular or will it be a train not worth riding?
The Girl on the Train follows divorcee Rachel Watson who takes the train every day in to work in New York, and every day the train passes by her old house where her ex-husband still lives with his new wife and child. As she attempts to not focus on her pain, she starts watching a couple who live a few houses down -- Megan and Scott Hipwell. She creates a wonderful dream life for them in her head, about how they are a perfect happy family. And then one day, as the train passes, she sees something shocking, filling her with rage. The next day, she wakes up with a horrible hangover, various wounds and bruises, and no memory of the night before. Then come the TV reports: Megan Hipwell is missing. Rachel becomes invested in the case and trying to find out what happened to Megan, where she is, and what exactly she herself was up to that same night Megan went missing. I loved that the trailers not only previewed the film, but gave you a sense of resolution that you knew couldn’t be right or could it? Let me start by saying I have never read the book so have no reference to compare it in anyway, but I can say that everyone gives great performances throughout despite the film being a slow paced bore most of the time.
The film runs almost two hours and they could have easily shaved off thirty minutes of that to streamline the story and make it way more compelling than it ended up being. It is so slow that I found myself uninterested in who did it and why before we ever started getting answers. As a matter of fact the time it took just to even get to the case was so slow I almost forgot that someone was supposed to go missing at all until it finally happened about halfway through the film. Thankfully the last half of the film when things start to come to light finally gets really good. You will find yourself pulled back into what was introduced and the mysteries and twists successful despite the issues before it. The film finishes strong and offers up some great twists for those that have never read the book, but it is such a struggle to get to this point it will likely loose people before they ever solve the case.
Fans of the book may be able to look past some of the pacing as they know what they are walking into, but a lot of that is needed in a book to really set the tone to the tale. For a film sometimes less is more and had this film been shaved down and got to the point a lot sooner it could have been a powerful perfect thriller that people would have been talking about for some time. Instead you have one that will be lucky to get people to stay through to the end and will likely be soon forgotten.