Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Girl on the Train Review

The movie that is "based off the thriller that shocked the world." That's what they say in the advertising, anyways. I can't speak for the book they speak of because I haven't read it, but if we pretend for a second that they are accurate and this book really did shock the world, then they impressively adapted a book that shocked the world into a movie that put the world to sleep. Based on hearsay, though, I would be willing to make a prediction that this book didn't actually shock the world. But it was a clever enough marketing trick that I certainly fell for. Back in 2014, there actually was a thriller released that shocked the world. It was also released on the first weekend of October. That movie was called Gone Girl and I absolutely loved it. Talk about a movie that literally made my jaw drop for the entire second half of the movie with all of it's crazy twists and turns as well as the jarring and hard-to-watch scenes towards the end. I love myself a good thriller and Gone Girl hit every note you want a thriller to hit. Going into The Girl on the Train, I was really hoping for another experience like Gone Girl. Instead I got a decently fun mystery movie that is ultimately forgettable, yet again continuing the annoying trend in 2016 of movies I'm excited for disappointing me.

The Girl on the Train is the intertwined story of three girls who all happen to have a connection to one guy. One of these three girls turns up missing and is soon after found to be dead. This was all in the trailer and I was worried that this was going to be a spoiler, but it's not. This murder happens towards the beginning of the film and thus sets up a movie that's actually more like Clue than Gone Girl in that we spend most of the movie trying to figure out who it was that killed this girl and how it was done. And the movie was told was much like Pulp Fiction in that it's told out of chronological order. We start at a certain point and slowly start to put the whole puzzle together, jumping back and forth from past to present quite often to figure out what happened. I should note before I continue that, lest you think I am calling The Girl on a Train a combination of Gone Girl, Clue and Pulp Fiction, all I'm really saying here is that this movie had similar cinematic elements to these three movies. It also means this movie had a whole heck of a lot of potential. I was ready for this to be one of the best movies of the year. While I'm not going to trash it like many people have, I will say this is a disappointing outing full of a lot of wasted potential, but not an overly terrible outing.

The biggest problem here is that this movie is very forgettable. I don't normally admit this in a review, but in this case I think my next statement will serve a point. Before starting this review, I kinda forgot what happened in the movie. As I mentioned, I saw this movie opening night and due to me being extremely busy, I haven't been able to keep up on all of my movie reviews, so some of them I had to shelf for a week or two. Or in this case three weeks. And in that time frame, this movie almost completely left my mind. It's a very by the numbers thriller, if it's even appropriate to call it a thriller since there is not a lot of actual thrills. Usually you want a thriller to keep you on the edge of your seat. You want the tension to build. You want the adrenaline rush. You want the movie to surprise and shock you. This movie just kinda... happens. Instead of being a crazy rollercoaster ride, this movie is like riding a train. Riding a train can be relaxing and enjoyable at times. But when you get home to your family and friends and you're recounting the events of the day, most days you're not going to brag about how awesome your train ride was. Unless you're five years old riding the train for the first time, which is where this analogy ends. This is not a kid's movie.

I do find this kinda ironic. Here I am on a train comparing a movie about a girl riding a train to riding a train. Yeah, you might have to read that sentence a couple of times. But let's talk about this girl riding on the train. That girl is played by the great Emily Blunt and due to things that have happened to her recently that we slowly learn more about as the movie goes along, she's spiraling downwards mentally. She's kind of a psychological wreck who stumbles onto this murder and begins to be convinced that she was the one who committed the murder. As the title of the movie would suggest, this is in fact Emily Blunt's movie. I said in my description that it's about three girls, but a more accurate description is that it's about one girl with the other two being supporting characters. And if there's one huge saving grace in this movie, it's definitely Emily Blunt. She's an actress who's been mostly on fire recently. I say "mostly" because she does have that huge stain of her awful performance in The Huntsman: Winter's War on her resumé now, but she recovers here. She did an absolutely phenomenal job as this psychologically damaged female and I genuinely enjoyed following her journey to see what really happened to her. Was she the killer? Was she a victim? I didn't know.

Our other two supporting females are serviceable. They are played by Rebecca Ferguson and discount Jennifer Lawrence. I say discount Jennifer Lawrence because Haley Bennett looks and sounds just like Jennifer Lawrence in this role. In fact, a lot of people who watched the trailer thought that was Jennifer Lawrence. But no, it's not. It's Haley Bennett. She's been having herself a decent year. She went from Hardcore Henry to The Magnificent Seven to this. And she was pretty good in all three of those even if the movies themselves weren't the greatest. In The Girl on the Train, she plays the troubled girl who experiences nothing but bad luck in her life. Which is topped off by her getting killed. Yeah, it's her death that we are trying to figure out who was responsible for. Rebecca Ferguson is the girl that kinda gets caught in the middle of all this. I definitely wouldn't call her a perfect angel because she's a big part of the reason why Emily Blunt's character spirals downward and starts conspicuously riding a train every day. But she's the one that seems the most innocent. And she plays it well. So yeah, our main trio of girls all did a great job in this. Yes, we have a whole host of other side characters/suspects, but in order to make things a surprise, I won't dive into any of them.

Overall this is not a bad film. There's obviously a lot of details that I purposely skipped over because this is a mystery film and I don't want to ruin the mystery for you if you are planning on seeing it. But the big takeaway is that this is a fairly forgettable film. It didn't shock me. The twists and turns weren't super crazy. There wasn't really any moment that had me on the edge of my seat. And quite honestly the movie dragged on quite a bit. It's a bit of a slow burn mystery movie instead of an outright intense thriller. But I was mildly entertained by the mystery it presented and I was blown away by Emily Blunt's performance. The other two girls, Rebecca Ferguson and Haley Bennett do a fine job. But when you go into a thriller you expect an intense, crazy rollercoaster ride. Instead I got a mild train ride. A lot of critics crucified this movie, saying it's an awful piece of trash. That's a bit unfair. But at the same time, this is not a must-see. If it's at Red Box or on TV some time in the future and you are curious about it, it's not a bad option. But if you didn't already rush out to see it like I did on opening weekend, you might as well keep waiting because it's not really worth a full ticket price. I'm going to give The Girl on the Train a disappointing 6/10.

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