Director: Tate Taylor
There’s been a lot of talk about The Girl On The Train but, to be honest, I haven’t heard any of it. One small thing I did hear was that it was a return to a Hitchcockian type of thriller, a who dunnit? If you will. I personally thought it was more of a who did what and with whom? type of thriller. It really works.
I’ll have to skate over quite a few things so as not to release spoilers. The structure of the film is such that it plays out in chronological flashbacks revolving around the three female leads. Emily Blunt plays Rachel Watson who, after the collapse of her marriage, has descended into alcoholism. Rachel is, however, still fixated on her ex-husband, Tom (Theroux). She has almost been stalking Tom and his new wife Anna especially since the birth of their child. This had hit Rachel hard having not been able to conceive with Tom herself. Tom and Anna employ a nanny, Megan, who lives nearby with her husband Scott (Evans). Megan also has her issues, wanting more from life than nannying and fantasising about her psychiatrist Dr. Kamal Abdic (Ramírez).
The film is a brilliantly interwoven tale of six protagonists and the tragic yet murderous paths their lives would take. Rachel whose daily commute (hence the title) takes her past the houses of the two couples, as she looks in on their lives her over active imagination creates images and stories but are they true? She tries to intervene, Tom and Anna just see her interfering again and whilst Scott takes her advice on board to begin with he soon sees the real Rachel, the alcoholic.
There’s been a lot of discussion at the moment about how females in lead roles in movies are thin on the ground. Opportunities are limited and yet here we have the three leads and key players all played exceptionally well by Blunt, Ferguson and Bennett. To further emphasise this point the input from the supporting males is second to none and a testament to the output from the leading ladies. Whether this will change attitudes to making more films to accommodate the undoubted female talent in more prominent roles, I have to say I doubt it. Movies are about money (in Hollywood at least), bums on seats and despite the cinema I attended for this movie being near to full it’s opening night the money men just won’t see it as much of a cash cow.
I’ve already touched on how the dynamic of the six leads works beautifully so to single anyone out, particularly between Blunt, Bennett and Ferguson, would be unfair. Nobody brings less to the table than anyone else. Everyone’s demons and graces are portrayed elegantly and the construction of the film and the events within are smoothly intertwined and brought to the screen well by Tate Taylor, a director I’m unfamiliar with but on the basis of this film we should hope for more good things to come.
The film is a triumph, if I had to pick a film from days gone by to compare I would have to say Jagged Edge base on the style and lead performances. I’m looking forward to the follow-up; The Girl On The Bus.
The Verdict 4/5: The girl on the train will make you book a return ticket.