The Girl on the Train Review
Book to film adaptations are among the trickiest films to produce. Directors are placed under great pressure to bring to life the pages from a book that is beloved by fans all over. Some books, like “The Hunger Games” trilogy, the “Harry Potter” franchise, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series, “The Twilight” trilogy, and the “Notebook” have all been successfully adapted. Other books, such as “The Giver”, “A Walk to Remember”, and most infamously “The Scarlet Letter” have all failed miserably as films. Joining this list of failed book adaptations is The Girl on the Train, based on the novel of the same name by Paula Hawkins.
Emily Blunt stars as Rachel Watson, an alcoholic woman with a hazy memory. Watson rides the train every day and creates imaginary scenarios about a couple she sees on the train. She one day witnesses something shocking on the train that leads to her entanglement in a serious murder mystery that has lasting implications for everyone involved.
The execution of this intricate story plot that shocked the world in the original novel was done very poorly. The use of narration and the fragmentation of the story were utilized in a way that irritatingly lacked cohesion. Director Tate Taylor has a hard time finding the balance between the shock and mystery that made the book a success. The film uses a type of slow motion cinematography that was used ad nauseum from 2000-2008. Back then the stylistic choice was acceptable, but now many people have grown out of watching it. Taylor did not seem to realize that there are other ways to make a hazy flashback or memory. The script should have had more revisions. As a matter of fact, original author Paula Hawkins should have written this script. The story itself should have been set in England, as it was in the original book. It was a story that felt uncomfortable in an American setting.
Emily Blunt’s performance in the film was very strong, to say the least. She really does a fine job of playing a disheveled, unsure, unreliable alcoholic, although there were a few times though were her acting felt a bit overdramatic. Haley Bennett did well portraying her character Megan’s mystery, but she did not inject much else into the role. The male counterparts also did not add much to the story, with the exception of Justin Theroux’s acting towards the end of the film. The other male roles were seemed to exist mainly as eye candy for the women. Theroux did have a crucial scene near the end that he acted out perfectly, but not much else makes you intrigued by his character for most of the film
The final verdict on The Girl On the Train is that it is weakly made adaptation that could have been better done with a different group of filmmakers. Skip this film if you can.