By Kaeli Van Cott
Once international bestseller The Girl on the Train by British author Paula Hawkins was announced to be a major motion picture, there was a ton of buzz around it. “The Help” director Tate Taylor signed on, and a pretty well known cast was stitched together, including Emily Blunt, Justin Theroux, and Laura Prepon, and all was well in the world. Despite not being familiar with the book, I had high hopes for this film. “The Girl on the Train” became a regurgitation of “Gone Girl” without the originality or well-executed twists, and not even Blunt could save it.
In general, the writing was so dramatic and poorly done, that the drama seemed wholly cheesy. Dramatic, violent scenes were turned into laughable moments. While sitting in the theater, the entire audience (including myself) started to laugh during the climax of the film. It was obvious that in the book, the storyline would be a perfect page-turner filled with suspense and plot twists. Unfortunately, this didn’t translate into the script, and definitely did not translate into the film.
At times, Blunt seemed almost unsure in her actions. During one scene, she runs away from an uncomfortable situation, but rather than running off dramatically, she does a genuine penguin waddle. It was uncomfortable, but not in an effective way. In general though, Blunt was not necessarily the problem here, because each character and their respective actor or actress had this issue. Theroux has some hard-hitting lines in the film that were complete duds and felt like punch lines rather than serious statements.
The film felt very much like a “Gone Girl” wannabe because of the exaggerated “bad side” of the women in the film, the role of men as either vulnerable or seeming evil and the darkness of it all. Some of the scenes were shot from unnecessary angles, using almost arbitrary effects. It was clearly meant to come off as gritty, but seemed like cheap, early 90s “The Real World” effects.
Although the film was severely disappointing, I will say that Blunt looked like a fair representation of her character, Rachel. Rachel is a persistent drunk, and Blunt genuinely looked disheveled. Her face was pinkish, red in most scenes and her eye makeup was smudged, as if she’d worn it for two days throughout binge drinking. The way she slurped drinks, slurred her words and became argumentative was spot on and entrancing. This appropriate representation of a drunk made me want to like the film, but by the end, I was not convinced.
All in all, the issue with “The Girl on the Train” is that it is a poorly executed version of a seemingly great story. It’s reminiscent of the 1997 television miniseries of “The Shining,“ due to its dedication to staying true to the book, but poor quality. If you’re dedicated to seeing this film, wait until it’s available to stream because it’s just not worth it. Until then, I’d recommend checking out the book and keeping your fingers crossed for a different remake sometime down the road.