The Girl on a Train has attracted much criticism for not living up to the high standards set by the award winning book of the same name written by Paula Hawkins.
Being judged on its merits as a film, the thriller directed by Tate Taylor draws in the audience as the plot develops making them question and guess at what the conclusion will entail. The feature length adaptation has already grossed 41 million dollars in its opening weekend worldwide and is still to be released in Germany, Russia and Japan.
The story sees unemployed alcoholic Rachel Watson, played by Emily Blunt, ride the train every day in and out of New York day to day to fill her time observing the daily life of a couple who she admires for their infatuation and love for each other.
After Rachel witnesses the woman kissing another man on the balcony of her home from the train window, she stumbles of and follows her through a tunnel in a fit of drunken rage and disgust for ruining this perfect marriage. The rage stems from Rachel drawing parallels to her own failed marriage.
When Rachel wakes up the next morning covered in blood and with hours missing in her memory of the previous night she soon becomes a suspect in the murder of missing woman, Megan Hipwell.
The opening few scenes of the film in which we are introduced to characters and their intertwining paths make it difficult to understand the direction in which the plot is headed and the significance of each relationship.
The varying time periods can be difficult to follow as the plot progresses. After we see a few scenes entitled ‘6 months ago’ followed by scenes entitled ‘4months ago’ the film doesn’t specify whether we have delved even further back in time or whether the story is gaining closer in time to the present moment.
However, despite being criticised for the setting being moved from London to New York and there being a lack of insight into the thoughts and psychology of the characters, Blunt’s portrayal of Rachel Watson has saved the movie.
Playing the role of somebody who is drunk is often perceived to be something that is very hard to get right in acting. Blunt manages to find the balance and is able to look like she is drunk rather than look like she is trying to play someone drunk.
A criticism which many movie adaptations face is that they stray too far from the storyline of the book leaving plot holes. Blunt’s acting ability manages to bridge these gaps along with an excellent supporting cast of Luke Evans, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux and Haley Bennett.
Audiences are pulled further and further into the story line as Rachel gradually pieces back together events that happened that night in the tunnel not only to try prove her innocence but also to uncover who murdered Megan Hipwell.
The eerie soundtrack proves to be a great tool in heightening the suspense and tension at pivotal points of the film. ‘Twisted’ by London Thor and ‘I Don’t Get It’ by Junkie Cowboys are two featured songs which will be added to the playlists of viewers once they leave the theatres. They provide a dramatic back drop to key moments in the plot.
Tate has found success in directing three actresses to Oscar nominations in Jessica Chastain, Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis all in 2011’s ‘The Help’ and may have now directed Emily blunt to an Oscar who is being tipped early as an outside contender alongside Irish/Ethiopian actress Ruth Negga for ‘Loving’ and Amy Adams for ‘Rival’.