“I have lost control over everything, even the places in my head.”
Book to Box Office: The Girl on the Train
Based on: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Expected Release Date: October 7th, 2016
Directed by: Tate Taylor
Summary: Recently divorced alcoholic Rachel Watson finds herself embedded in a murder mystery when the woman whose life she peers into from the window of her daily train ride turns up dead. Rachel quickly finds herself grasping for her sanity as the loosely held life she thought she knew further unravels.
Working For It: Emily Blunt. That name is really all this film needs to sell it. Sure, The Girl on the Train is a best-selling page-turner that’s sure to collect at least some of the audience that was drawn to Gone Girl (despite the fact that Hawkins’ story lacks a similar zeitgeist and shock-value of Flynn’s superior novel). But ultimately The Girl on the Train isn’t so entirely unlike stories we’ve read or watched before, but Rachel is a character unlike anyone we’ve seen Blunt play before and that’s the major selling point. The Girl on the Train isn’t good because the mystery is all that shocking, it’s good because we get to witness Rachel attempt to solve it and discover hidden aspects of herself in the process. Rachel Watson is such a sad-sack character, so entirely comprised of self-loathing and an inability to take responsibility for herself, that it’s impossible not to be fascinated by her. With Blunt in the lead and Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Rebecca Ferguson, and Edgar Ramirez in supporting roles, The Girl on the Train has the potential to be one of those movies that have audiences saying “the story was pretty good, but the acting was fantastic.”
Working Against It: Without getting into spoilers, I have to say that the story’s final reveal isn’t very surprising. It’s logical, but it’s also a bit of a letdown, especially when a certain character involved begins spouting clichéd dialogue and exposition that’s pretty standard within this genre. There is of course more to the story than the reveal and a lot of it works, but these types of thrillers tend to be judged based on the strength of their reveals or “twists” and The Girl on the Train may leave some disappointed unless the film’s screenwriter found a more compelling way to deliver it.
Wild Card: Tate Taylor’s two previous films, The Help and Get on Up, are both tonally and aesthetically a far cry from those needed for the sordid depression that flows throughout The Girl on the Train. Based on the first trailer, it seems that Taylor’s got a great visual eye for the workings of the thriller/mystery, so much so that I was surprised to see his name attached to the film. Taylor has proven his ability to direct compelling and memorable characters, so while The Girl on the Train certainly won’t have the weight of a David Fincher film, it should be in pretty safe hands.
Verdict: I’d put money on the film being an engaging and worthwhile adaptation. While it may not blow up as the “must-see” film of the fall, everything points towards it being a worthy addition to the modern thriller canon and a film that will proudly sit within Blunt’s filmography.