This past summer as I nursed a failing metal knee replacement and another bit of personal trauma I see fit not to mention here, I holed up watching movies – terrible movies, movies I’ve seen a million times, streaming movies, movies on demand. While I purport to review movies here, I’ve failed miserably to live up to that claim. And, given my description above of the movies I’ve been watching, you may thank me for failing to do so. And to compound the felony, I’ve quit going to theaters. Why? Perhaps because there might be a crazed shooter in the lobby. Who knows?
But now the movies I really wanted to see these past months are showing up on On-Demand, and so tonight I broke out the Visine and watched one: The Girl On The Train.
I’d read Paula Hawkins’ The Girl On The Train a year or so ago and was curious how that complex story was handled in cinema. (You can find my review of the book somewhere on this blog). The story is built around Rachel, who of course rides the train, and is an alcoholic. What the movie makes abundantly clear is that Rachel has mental issues beyond her taste for booze, which gives the story its kicker. She fantasizes about a couple she used to live near, thinking them the perfect couple – until the wife disappears.
From that point, director Tate Taylor paces the story perfectly, his work complemented by Danny Elfman’s musical score. The acting is excellent, particularly Emily Blunt’s Rachel, who has the pancaked personality of the poor woman down pat. One of Erin Cressida Wilson’s screenplay tricks is Rachel’s voiceover that easily mimicks Hawkins’ narrative delving into Rachel’s angst.
To my mind, it’s rare that a movie is able to follow the sensibility of novel as well as this movie did. Congratulations to all concerned.
My rating: 19 of 20 stars
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