The Girl on the Train (2016)
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The Girl on the Train is a capably made film featuring a standout lead performance by the reliable Emily Blunt. Unfortunately, the material around her is simply lacking. Though it touches on themes of male dominance, violence, alcoholism, the film is ultimately more interested in its own melodrama than in any actual exploration of those themes.
Additionally, for someone who hadn't read the book, the time jumps and narrative shifts occasionally left me confused about the narrative. The frequent comparisons to Gone Girl make a lot of sense - The Girl on the Train seeks to copy a lot of the style and tone of Gone Girl - but ultimately it's closer to a voyeuristic melodrama than to a thrilling masterpiece.
The best thing about this film was the strikingly accurate portrayal of crippling alcoholism.
The rest was okay.
The Girl on the Train is really Emely Blunt's show, giving a performance that outshines the writing and direction by a mile, though I will admit that for most of its 2+ hour running time, I was presented with a more than competent melodrama, told using what I assume is the book's structure, revealing the sordid details of three women's lives asequentially. The film is, after all, an indictment of memory, presenting a narrative that is partly, or perhaps even entirely, unreliable. That feeling of unsure discovery is more interesting than the eventual solution to the disappearance/murder at the heart of the story, and The Girl on a Train is yet another film released this season that doesn't quite know what to do before the credits roll and opts for a trite coda. Had I run out of the cinema a couple minutes before the end, I would have been more happy with it.
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