Review: The Girl on the Train (No Spoilers)

By Tim

People have been comparing this with Gone Girl and I can see why. Does it live up to Gone Girl standards? No, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad film.

I’ve been looking forward to seeing this film because it was right up my alley. I love films like Gone Girl, Zodiac, Seven, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc. so this new movie looked great! Emily Blunt is always a great actress and I was excited to see what Haley Bennett and Rebecca Ferguson could bring to the table! 

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What did she see?!? *gasp*!!!

What I liked about this film:

  • The acting was powerful. Every single principle character performed amazingly in this film. The emotions and power they convey on screen is palpable. Emily Blunt, as always, was fantastic and did an excellent job in the film. Loved every minute of her.

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    Rebecca Ferguson and Justin Theroux were excellent!

  • I loved the way this film was shot. It does an excellent job at building paranoia and the tense atmosphere which is incredibly important for this story. It helped add greatly to the psychological aspect of this thriller.
  • The production design was great as well. Now I know what you’re thinking… “It’s modern day, what’s so special about it?” Well, the rustic looking homes and wooded forest coupled with the modernism of the train and New York City was a great contrast as they were placed so oddly. It conveyed a sort of devolution of the mind almost which is a central part of the theme. 

What I disliked about this film:

  • This movie is for sure a slow burner. It takes a while for it to really build up to speed and get good. It was a struggle to watch the beginning and the early parts of the middle just because it tries too hard to mesh too much in when it really didn’t need to. This is a problem that I see in most book-to-film adaptations. 
  • The story is way too convoluted. You will see what I mean if you watch the film. Now, being complex is not the same as convoluted. There are so many subplots and so many things to wrap your head around that it’s hard to keep focus on what’s happening at hand. Haley Bennett’s character and many others get lost in the sea of convoluted plot because of this and I feel like her role was wasted. Maybe in the book it could be better but in the film it is a flagrant flaw.

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    Emily Blunt was great, but even she couldn’t save the film’s plot.

  • The twists in this film were highly predictable for me. It came as no surprise to be honest. I feel like the movie tried to hard to bank on that but in the end it didn’t amount to anything special.

Overall, I thought the movie was enjoyable. It takes patience to get into and extra effort to understand the story but the strong performances by the cast and the occasional spurt of interest is enough to save the movie from being any more worse than it could be. 

I give The Girl on the Train a 7/10. Thin and confusing story with weak twists, but excellent performances all around with a passable enough plot to keep it trudging along.

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