Synopsis: A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life.
Release Date: October 7, 2016 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller
Early book reviews of author Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train touted the novel as “the next Gone Girl,” and Hawkins is none-too-pleased about it. Now that, like Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train has been turned into a big Hollywood movie, the comparisons are bound to continue.
The girl on the train in The Girl on the Train is Rachel Watson (Sicario‘s Emily Blunt), a divorced alcoholic woman who spends her daily commute staring at the home of her ex-husband, Tom (Justin Theroux from Wanderlust), and his new wife, Anna (Rebecca Ferguson from Hercules) from the window of her train every day. Rachel also peeks in on the seemingly idyllic life of her old neighbor, Scott Hipwell (Dracula Untold‘s Luke Evans), and his wife, Megan (Haley Bennett from The Magnificent Seven), who live down the street from Tom. Of course, during Rachel’s peeping, she sees plenty of things that she shouldn’t see, things which end up involving murder, mayhem, and missing persons, but even Rachel isn’t quite sure of what she was witnessed.
That’s as much of a synopsis as you should get going into The Girl on the Train. Heck, that may even be too much information for a movie with as many unexpected turns as this one.
The screenplay for The Girl on the Train was adapted from Paula Hawkins’ bestseller by Erin Cressida Wilson (Secretary), and the script plays with the timeline in a Tarantino-esque way that allows director Tate Taylor (The Help, Get On Up) to let the story unfold meticulously and masterfully, revealing the elements of the plot in a way that’s not too quick and not too slow, just like a good mystery ought to. At the root of The Girl on the Train is a whodunit, but the lack of tangible suspects makes that part of the equation fairly easy to figure out. The enigma is not the “who,” but all of the little “whats” and “hows” that surround it. And, again, there are plenty of surprises, too; when someone asks you if you guessed the twist in The Girl on the Train, the appropriate response is “which one?”
Despite what Paula Hawkins might think, comparisons between The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl are warranted. Both stories involve missing women and suspicious husbands. Both force the audience to make a decision about an unreliable narrator. Both have their moments of cringe-worthy violence which, although not essential to the plot, sure do add shock-and-awe impact to their respective films. And both become very different movies at a little before the halfway point. The Girl on the Train isn’t as tense or suspenseful as Gone Girl, but it does a decent enough impression of it.
With a title like The Girl on the Train, it would be easy to make puns like “this film derails” or “this movie is on the wrong track.” But that would be if the movie was bad. It’s not. So, let’s just say that The Girl on the Train…runs on time (sorry).
Another comparison between The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl can be drawn between the musical soundtracks. Composed by Danny Elfman (who’s been on a roll lately with credits as varied as Fifty Shades of Grey and Goosebumps), the score to The Girl on the Train bears some sonic similarity to the less raucous sections of the Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross score for Gone Girl. By Danny Elfman standards, the score for The Girl on the Train is subdued and restrained, only pouring on the juice when it absolutely has to. The music has a minimalist feel, symphonic and electronic, rhythmic without being pounding. Elfman’s simple-yet-elegant score gives The Girl on the Train just the right amount of added emotional pull.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Tate Taylor
- Producer(s): Jared LeBoffMarc Platt
- Screenwriter(s): Erin Cressida Wilson
- Story: Paula Hawkins
- Cast: Haley Bennett (Megan Hipwell)Emily Blunt (Rachel Watson)Justin Theroux (Tom Watson) Rebecca Ferguson (Anna Watson)Luke Evans (Scott Hipwell)Laura Prepon (Cathy)Allison Janney (Officer Riley)Edgar Ramirez (Dr. Kamal Abdic)Lisa Kudrow (Monica)Ross Gibby (David)Gregory Morley (Officer Pete)Johnny Otto (Officer Matlin)
- Editor(s): Michael McCusker
- Cinematographer: Charlotte Bruus Christensen
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer: Michelle Matland & Ann Roth
- Casting Director(s): Kerry BardenPaul Schnee
- Music Score: Danny Elfman
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA