“The Girl on the Train is based on Paul Hawkins’ bestselling thriller that shocked the world. Rachel (Emily Blunt), devastated by her recent divorce, spends her daily commute fantasizing about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day. Everything changes when she sees something shocking happen there, and becomes entangled in the mystery that unfolds.”
The Girl on the Train touts itself as another thriller based on a best-selling book that seems to be the popular trend in Hollywood. With twists and turns, rife with mystery and suspense, film-goers who haven’t read the book won’t quite know what to expect.
Of course with all films based on books, the biggest hurdle is overcoming the narrative structure of the book and translating that to film. The beginning of the film starts off a bit shaky, with a lot of narration and shifting of focus on key characters. A lot of information is presented very quickly, with changes time and character, which is a bit overwhelming when you are trying to figure out what is going on. Since this is told in a series of flashbacks of multiple characters, that keep shifting from past to present, that all lead up to one key moment, it is very easy for the viewer to get lost in the sea of information that can be crucial.
By the second act, things become a bit more structured, and as the audience gets used to the shifting timeline they are better able to keep up. Because of this, I believe the viewer is better able to appreciate the story and follow along, increasing the enjoyment as the mystery deepens and the stakes are raised in order to unlock the terrible secret that someone is hiding.
Without going too in depth into the story to keep the mystery intact, I will say that I was surprised by the ending. I went into this film believing the ending would reveal some giant cliché that is attached to almost every psychological thriller. From the ending, you start to re-examine the rest of the film and discover just how visceral, real and terrifying the film actually is, dealing with some harsh realities of abuse in all forms. Although the film had major structural issues that hindered the telling of the story, the message in the end is heard loud and clear.
The video is presented in High Definition 1080p 1.85:1. The transfer looks fantastic, with well-balanced color levels with a hint of muted effect to convey the feel of coldness, in both the atmosphere and the tone. There are no defects of any kind noticed.
The audio features a DTS:X soundtrack. With a majority of the sound coming from the center channel, the surrounds are well utilized for the score and additional effects. Levels are good all around, with no noticeable defects of any kind.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- The Women Behind The Girl
- On Board The Train
- Feature Commentary with Director Tate Taylor
With the limitations of character insight translated from book to screen, and disorientation viewers may experience in the initial setup of the story, it is easy to disregard this film. If you can make it past these shortcomings you will see a story unfold that contains a very important message. A message that cannot be disregarded.