I read the book of this now movie adaptation of “The Girl on the Train” about 18 months ago, mostly whilst sitting on a train. That could be deemed appropriate but I’m guessing I’m one of many.

I had just read “Gone Girl” a few months prior to that and acted on an Amazon Kindle Recommendation impulse. “The Girl on the Train” didn’t hook me immediately but I persevered and had a reasonably positive experience. I’m not a superfan, but happy enough to recommend it myself as a commuter read.

A somewhat less emphatic recommendation than I gave for “Gone Girl”, which I thought was excellent.

The marketing campaign for the movie-version largely passed my by. I spotted a poster at a London tube station about a week before it came out and then forgot about it. Until we had a spare Friday evening to spend at the Peckhamplex.

Thoughts? Well… if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know I’m a big Emily Blunt fan. I loved her in Your Sister’s Sister (great end-credits song btw) and have since made it a point to see as many of her films as I can.

Other highlights (I’m ignoring The Devil Wears Prada): Looper, Edge of Tomorrow, Sicario, The Adjustment Bureau.

She was definitely a draw.

It started well, Emily Blunt looked a little disheveled and quite believable as alcoholic lost soul protagonist, Rachel. I dutifully disliked both Megan and Anna, felt bad for Tom, and partook in the general “Pull yourself together woman!” and “Something’s not quite right here…” sentiments as the story unfolded. (Enough time had passed since I read the book for me to have forgotten much of the plot!).

Now I’m going to echo a few of the things that critics have been saying:

Firstly, where the movie adaptation of Gone Girl was menacing, measured and dark, The Girl on the Train was a little all over the place. Although the confusion caused by the three different perspectives and piecing together of the plot puzzle mirrored how I would assume Rachel felt as she figured out what was happening, this detracted from the “thriller” aspect for me.

Rosamund Pike as Amy Dunne in Gone Girl was meticulous in her planning and chilling in her efficiency and ruthlessness as a protagonist. By contrast, Rachel was confused and a little frustrating even as she starts to work out what’s happening.

Secondly, knowing that the book took place in London and the film was relocated to New York bothered me. Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner.

Thirdly – and I’m unsure as to whether this was unique to the audience at the Peckhamplex or a more general reflection of how the film was received – there were two distinct places in the film where the audience laughed out loud. Actually laughed out loud, as a unit. During scenes which I don’t believe Director Tate Taylor intended as humorous. (I won’t elaborate on which except to say “running” and “corkscrew” – I’m trying to avoid blatant spoilers).

I do think, however, that the laughter was a reflection of the view that the audience weren’t entirely convinced by the behaviours and motivations of the characters. Or perhaps it was the development of the storyline. Whether that was due to the writing, screen adaptation, acting, direction, or a little of all of these – I’m not sure.

Emily Blunt was well cast – I’ll still be seeking out her films as they’re released.

It’s also great to see such a female-driven film, featuring Rebecca Ferguson as the distraught wife/indiscretion and Haley Bennett as the nanny/neighbour/threat, that isn’t a rom-com or romantic drama of some kind do so well at the box office, both in the UK and internationally.

Not that there is anything at all wrong with either rom-coms or romantic dramas! I’m sure I’ll be sharing my thoughts on some of those here soon too.


Rating: 3.5 / 5

Recommendation: If you haven’t made it to the Cinema, it’s possibly one to watch for £4.99 at the Peckhamplex or wait for TalkTalk TV / Sky Movies.