It’s an express service to doom, gloom and misery in The Girl on the Train, a largely tiresome feature that fails to connect on every level.
Emily Blunt stars as Rachel, a lonely divorcee who takes the train every day, passing a particular house that always catches her attention. She vies for the seemingly idyllic life of the properties occupants, Megan (Haley Bennett, The Equaliser, Marley & Me) and Scott (Luke Evans, Dracula Untold, The Hobbit) Hopewell. But one journey will shatter everything she knows, as she witnesses something devastating happen on the house balcony that fills her with rage. The next day she wakes to a hangover, no recollection of the previous evening and sporting a number of nasty cuts and bruises. The worst is yet to come, however – news reports reveal that Megan Hipwell is missing. Rachel invests herself heavily in the case, but her increasing interest coupled with her lack of memory plants her firmly in the investigators’ crosshairs.
If The Girl on the Train was used as an example of Blunt’s talents, it would be a severe misrepresentation. She’s better than this, and she knows it. Requiring her to do little more than sob uncontrollably while looking sullen from a train window (the popular meme depicting the look of people while a sad song plays springs to mind), it’s an utter waste of an actress whose best work is yet to come but has given fantastic performances in films such as Edge of Tomorrow, Sicario and Looper. The rest of the cast do nothing to elevate their status as anything other than a name on the bill.
Taking far too long to gain any steam, The Girl on the Train is the perfect introduction to the mystery thriller genre to those who aren’t aware such a type of film exists. By the time the final act rolls around and twists are unwound, care towards any of these highly unlikeable characters has well and truly left the station. Granted, there’s the odd moment that piques the interest levels (a pivotal aspect of Megan’s backstory is a key example), but these aren’t enough to save The Girl on the Train from derailing.