The Girl on the Train Review
There have been many horror movies and many thrillers that have defined the phobias of a generation. "Jaws" back in the 1970's kept hundreds of people out of the ocean. "Psycho" kept an entire generation of women out of the shower. Even "The Blair Witch Project," spooked people out of the woods and away from camping for God knows how long. I even still have friends who believe that what happened in "The Blair Witch Project" really happened. These unleashed phobias are not just warranted by horror movies, but thrillers as well. I think "The Girl on the Train" will keep people from getting drunk.
As "The Girl on the Train" begins, we meet Rachel (Emily Blunt), who seemingly spends all of her time on a train from the New York suburbs to New York City. She has a large water bottle full of vodka and she seems like she's intoxicated all the time. She is constantly observing two houses in the same neighborhood. There is Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) and her husband Tom (Justin Theroux) who have a baby girl together. There is also Megan (Haley Bennett) and her husband Scott (Luke Evans). What we learn as the film progresses is that Tom used to be married to Rachel, but left her over her alcohol abuse. Megan is also the nanny for Anna and Tom and Megan is sleeping with Tom. She also sees a psychiatrist (Edgar Ramiraz) who she sleeps with as well. Rachel begins to learn all of these people's secrets just by simply watching their houses. One night she drunkenly tries to call out Megan for sleeping around, then she blacks out and wakes up the next day with a bloody face. What happened to her? Did she kill somebody? That seems to be the case when Detective Riley (Allison Janney) shows up questioning Rachel's whereabouts, Megan was found dead in the woods that Rachel was walking in the night before. Did Rachel accidentally kill Megan?
So I will admit upfront, "The Girl on the Train" is an immensely disorienting experience. As Rachel is recollecting her memories from the night before, we question their validity. Is Rachel remembering these events correctly? Is she really a murderer? The film is built around the use of memories between Rachel and both Megan and Anna. Can we be sure we can trust these memories? Or is there something far more horrible and secretive going on? Well, I am not here to spoil that for you and I think I will definitely be running a second look at this film in a few weeks as apart of Further Inspection. This is a film that allows for your complete attention. Its a movie that if you see it multiple times, you may discover new details you didn't pick up on last time.
The film is hypnotic due to the outstanding cast, all across the board. Emily Blunt definitely leads the charge in a career-high performance. She allows herself to look ugly here. She allows herself be savage here. It is a gritty, rough performance and one of the very best she's ever done. Theroux, Ramirez, Ferguson, and Evans are all quite stellar as well. There are good supporting performances by Allison Janney and Lisa Kudrow. Another big performance that stands out is the work done by Haley Bennett. She is a whirlwind of bad behavior here and she makes it all believable.
"The Girl on the Train" may feel like empty shock at first. It's a movie that revolves around a bunch of really bad people doing really bad things. If that make you feel bad, then you should probably be warned to stay away. This is an adult thriller, but it is utterly engaging and transparent. It is guided by a huge host of fantastic performances. It's got an ending that will definitely make your jaw drop, and does a good job leading us up to a juicy ending. So many "surprise" endings sometimes don't deliver the goods, but "The Girl on the Train" certainly does. There are several twists and turns throughout this film, and sometimes the film gets hard to follow. I only recommend that you stay adventurous, you will definitely be glad you did.
FINAL GRADE: A-