"Girl on the Train" doesn't live up to hype [Review]

Emily Blunt is great as Rachel, the boozy, depressed and haunted protagonist that has complete rock-bottom in Tate Taylor’s “The Girl on the Train.” The film is based on Paula Hawkins' ultra-popular bestseller, a twisty, pulpy and feminist murder-mystery that Taylor tries to mold into his own “Gone Girl.”
Blunt, a venerable actress with immense talent, is a force of nature here, using her eyes to lure us into Rachel’s disturbed psyche. She’s the “girl” on the train and every day, it seems all day, she rides that train which, rather a little too slowly perhaps, passes by Megan Hipwell’s cozy home (Haley Bennett). Megan has everything Rachel worked so hard to get, but lost in the process.

Then Megan goes missing, which leads Rachel to go into a investigation-mode. Obsessively she starts to think she is losing her mind, which makes her all the more unreliable to the viewer. Rachel has, of course, no idea that Megan has a very personal connection to her life, but to reveal how or why would be to give away the twists and turns that have made Hawkins’ novel such a worldwide success.
Blunt’s performance is the clear highlight of the film. She keeps the film anchored to a degree, even when it threatens to, pardon the pun, derail. Playing a drunk is no easy feat for any actor, the risk of overacting can damn near ruin a film, but Blunt is convincing and, in many instances, heartbreaking. We can’t help, but root Rachel even when she continuously fucks up in scene after scene.
“The Girl on the Train” becomes less involving as the twists start to pile up and the puzzle begins to come together. It is not a terrible attempt at the pulpy female sex novel, but it feels less thrilling than it should be. The flashbacks are a neat narrative technique to get us involved, but the payoff is rather lackluster. Much of the blame must go to Erin Cressida’s screenplay which has half-written characters that barely register as fully fleshed and interesting people. Only Blunt gets away with having any sort of three-dimensional persona. 

Taylor, whose last film “The Help was a little too sunny-looking for its serious subject matter, tries to add dark interiors to every frame. The three women, residents of the posh New York suburb of Ardsley-on-Hudson, have enough secrets to carry hard-earned drama throughout the films 112 minute running time. The problem is that Taylor, unlike Fincher, has no real sense of style or panache to carry such a heavily-dosed, pulpy film. He seems to struggle with the direction he wants his film to go. Is it a drama? A satire? A morality play? Pulp trash? That’s what distinguishes his directorial hand to Fincher’s who found a subversive, satirically dark tone to his source material [C]

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