The Girl on the Train
dir Tate Taylor
scr Erin Cressida Wilson
prd Jared LeBoff, Marc Platt
with Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez, Laura Prepon, Allison Janney, Lisa Kudrow, Darren Goldstein, Ross Gibby, Gregory Morley
release US/UK 7.Oct.16
16/US DreamWorks 1h52
The Girl on the Train
The daily commute: Blunt

ferguson bennett theroux
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
The Girl on the Train While the seductive, insinuating filmmaking echoes but never quite grasps the Hitchcockian elements in this story, a collection of complex characters makes this movie involving and evocative. Director Tate Taylor and his solid cast keep very some big themes gurgling throughout this twisty mystery, boldly exploring the power of emotions and parenthood.

On her daily commute into Manhattan from the suburbs, Rachel (Blunt) repeatedly spots a beautiful woman (Bennett) in her home along the tracks, clearly happy with her sexy husband (Evans). But Rachel knows that this is Megan, a nanny working for Rachel's ex Tom (Theroux), who lives a few doors down with his new wife Anna (Ferguson) and their infant daughter. Watching all of this is not helping the painfully lonely Rachel deal with her black-out alcoholism, and when Megan goes missing she's afraid of what she might have done.

The story unfolds from the perspective of all three women, circling back on itself into flashbacks to fill in key details about the knotted connections between them. Each scene drops more clues (and red herrings) into the mix while introducing key side characters like Megan's shrink (Ramirez), Rachel's flatmate (Prepon) and a curious detective (Janney). Intriguingly, Rachel, Megan and Anna are flawed characters with sometimes inaccurate points of view, so when the full picture begins to come into focus, they're even more shocked than the audience at each revelation.

Blunt delivers a wrenching central turn as a self-loathing drunk who blames herself for her misfortunes. Yet as appallingly as Rachel behaves, Blunt's raw emotional performance manages to keep her remarkably sympathetic, which is very important later on. Ferguson and Bennett also have roles that require more darkly layered textures. All three women make awful decisions along the way, then are forced to deal with whatever happens as a result. By contrast, the men are relatively simplistic: they may have shades of light and dark, but their impact on the narrative is straightforward.

Taylor directs this with plenty of slick visual style, augmented by an unusually subtle Danny Elfman score. Wilson's script gets a bit bogged down in its confusingly jumbled timeline (the "four months ago" titles are distracting and unnecessary), but the way it zeroes in on the feelings of these three women is remarkable, even if Taylor struggles with the delicate task of dribbling out clues to the mystery. All of which makes the film more emotionally haunting than viscerally gripping.

cert 15 themes, language, violence, sexuality 21.Sep.16

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