By Ivan Mateo
It is often said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Upon initially viewing the trailer for “The Girl on the Train,” a viewer may feel the same eerie feelings he or she experienced while watching David Fincher’s tremendous 2014 film, “Gone Girl,” which is based on Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novel of the same name.
Director Tate Taylor tries to capture the suspense and thrill from Paula Hawkins’ novel on the big screen. Could “The Girl on the Train” be 2016’s “Gone Girl?”
Essentially, the story follows Rachel (Emily Blunt), a divorcee who rides a train to and from work in New York every day. Rachel likes to partake in the art of people-watching and drawing sketches of her travels throughout the course of the day.
Each day, the train passes the neighborhood and home she used to live in with her ex-husband, Tom (Justin Theroux). Tom is now married to Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) and they have a baby together.
Rachel also obsesses over the passionate love she often catches a glimpse of between Megan (Haley Bennett) and Scott (Luke Evans), a younger married couple who lives in the same neighborhood as Tom and Anna.
One day, Megan suddenly vanishes and no one knows how or why, but Rachel saw something while riding on the train that could hint at an answer. What follows is a rush to solve the mystery of the missing girl.
Did Megan just leave on her own volition? Or, did something more sinister happen to her?
The women are the three main characters in the film and they each have different motivations and characteristics.
We see most of the film through Rachel’s actions and storytelling. The problem lies in the fact that she is an obsessed, alcoholic ex-wife with too much time on her hands.
She often blacks out due to her alcoholism, and the narrative she tells the audience is shaky at best. Rachel must have extraordinary eyesight to see every detail of the people she observes, and the train always seems to slow down at that specific neighborhood.
Anna wants to keep everything status quo with her family and child, but Rachel persistently butts into their happy lives.
Bennett has been very productive recently with her starring role in “The Magnificent Seven,” but her role as Megan is the polar opposite. She constantly daydreams because she does not want to be there. She wants to escape.
There were times throughout the movie where a character would deliver a poorly written line that might make one think, “Did she really just say that?” or elicit a chuckle where the director most likely did not intend to provoke one.
Most of the characters are downright unlikeable. There are love triangles and squares that could easily be avoided if the characters communicated with each other instead of harboring secrets.
Detective Riley (Allison Janney) and Cathy (Laura Prepon) provide a brief reprieve from the chugging, slow pace of the film. Each of these characters add perspective to the film by telling other characters what they need to hear, rather than what they want to hear.
Confusing flashbacks are scattered throughout the movie. They attempt to add backstory and clarity to the narrative but often felt clunky.
The mystery and suspense genre often features twists and smoking guns, but this film has so many twists and turns that the answer at the end becomes quite obvious.
Blunt does what she can by showing off her dramatic acting in a difficult role, but unfortunately, the film lacks any amiable characters.
The conclusion of the film ultimately screeches to a halt in living up to the hopes of being the next “Gone Girl.” The tagline for the film is “what you see can hurt you,” and it did hurt us.
“The Girl on the Train” is rated R for violence, sexual content, language and nudity.
“The Girl on the Train” is playing in theaters now.
Courtesy of Universal Pictures
“The Girl on the Train” move poster
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