The Girl on the Train is a film adaptation of a novel of the same name by Paula Hawkin. It is a mystery thriller drama film that seems to be a combination of different genres. This film stars Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, and Justin Theroux as the casts and Emily Blunt has even been nominated for BAFTA best actress for her role in the film. However, what does that say about the quality of the film? Let’s delve into this together below!
The basic premise is about an alcoholic divorcee Rachel who spends her day commuting aimlessly and endlessly on the train after she lost her job. Every time she passes by a neighbourhood, she would witness her ex-husband and his new wife’s new life and also another couple living beside who she deems to be a perfect couple. One day, a caretaker Megan who cares for the neighbour’s baby, who is Rachel’s ex-husband’s new wife, suddenly disappears. Rachel begins to realise that the truth that she has known and accepted all along may not be entirely the truth after all. As she delves deeper into the mystery, she will have to confront her deepest fear. Will she ever survive the trial ahead?
This is a weird dark film that is pretty unique. Using the perspective of a drunkard divorcee who witnesses many events through her daily train ride creates a new angle of narrative direction. It starts off as a normal train ride that soon devolves into a weird sequence of events, just as the film tries to pace itself slowly and then suddenly speed it up midway as the mystery becomes deeper. I like how the film aims to tell the story through actions, and there are not really many dialogues in the beginning. Most of the events happen through what Rachel sees instead of what she does. Her relationships with her ex-husband and other characters also border on strange notes, becoming enemies in one, yet with a very close relationship.
The usage of muddled memories create suspense and also tension as the story delves deeper into the mystery. With many clues that seem obvious become a trap that serves to hide the real truth. The film manages to grasp my attention from beginning till the end, though some parts in the early middle portion can be a bit boring due to some cliche scenes. There also some changes in showing the perspective of other characters that serve to give side characters more personality and backstory. Music soundtracks are haunting and depressing, which really fits the theme and the lead character herself. This film can be a bit moody at times, but the mystery sensation is maintained throughout without getting overboard.