April 21, 2017

The Girl On The Train (2016)

Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans

Oh yay! I finally get to be one of those obnoxious people who make it a point to tell you they read the book BEFORE watching the movie. So I guess this review will incorporate both criticisms of the story AND the acting. Or in this case, the casting.

Look, I love Emily Blunt. I think she can be fantastic in a number of different capacities. But fat drunk loser? Sorry, but that has Renee Zellwegger written all over it. (I mean, old Renee Zellwegger.) Seriously though, Renee has really set the bar for lonely, chubby, pitiful women with British accents. And considering how much of the plot rests on her loser-ish-ness, casting very-pretty-and-not-at-all-fat Emily Blunt was a poor choice right out the gate.

Also a poor choice? To relocate the story to the US. Maybe it seems like not a big deal, but why do it at all? To cast American actors? Except Emily Blunt still speaks with her British accent throughout and actors like Rebecca Ferguson and Luke Evans (born in Whales!) instead have to create American accents to fit in. It's nonsensical.

Also ridiculous? Casting the explicitly described "dark skinned" and "could pass for Indian at a distance" Kamal Abdic with Edgar Ramirez. And considering a significant plot point rests on his physical appearance, it's not even just a matter of white-washing -- it literally makes no sense. It's as if the casting director had already locked all these actors into contracts and just tried to divvy up the roles among them.

But beyond the casting, this movie lacked suspense. At least, the type of suspense that existed in the book. Some of that might be due to the fact that I already knew the outcome [having read the book], but that didn't deter me from enjoying a similar thriller in Gone Girl. In fact, I thought the movie improved on the book by changing the pacing of the story. Here, all the creativity seemed to be used during casting.

It takes quite awhile for the plot to warm up and for us to care about any of the characters. There are quite a few of them, I understand, but it's a long introductory period. It also doesn't give proper development to anyone other than Rachel, Emily Blunt's character. She may be the main character, but what gives the book its excitement is delving into each suspect and wading through Rachel's hazy memories to try and decipher what exactly happened. This movie lacks all of that excitement. It picks up, eventually, but that's assuming anyone watching makes it to the end.

Final word: Just read the book.


  1. I thought the book was pretty good once I snapped that it was being told from different character's perspectives. This movie should have been considerably better, agreed.

  2. I agree, the changing perspectives threw me off at first too.