Presumably looking to capitalise in the success of David Fincher’s 2014 adaptation of Gone Girl director Tate Taylor brings us an adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ mystery thriller The Girl on the Train.
The story follows alcoholic depressive Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) who gets dragged into the murder investigation of her ex husband’s neighbour. Whilst this is a plot that has a lot of potential it gets wasted by a terrible script and some poor direction. Not only is the dialogue clunky and unbelievable at times, but also the pacing of the film is completely off. It moves so slowly, with nothing of consequence happening until a significant way through the film, and when reveals do come they happen over so long it’s nearly impossible to shocked by or care about them.
Tate Taylor’s direction doesn’t help things either. He spends far too long lingering on unimportant and uninteresting moments. In fact the film revels in blurry shots of negative space and nothingness, which do nothing to propel the film forward. He is unable to really deal with the story’s non-linear approach to the story, or truly make us care about all three of the main characters, let alone the majority of the cast. When you couple this bad script with some terrible directing this would be one of the worst films of the year.
However the saving grace of the film is Blunt’s performance. She gives one of the greatest drunk performances I have ever seen, and one of the strongest of the year so far, creating a character who has been left vulnerable by the betrayals in her life. In fact the cast as a whole isn’t the problem, some do play it fairly melodramatically and Blunt outshines them all, but it’s a fairly solid cast, including Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, and Luke Evans.
Despite Blunt giving a truly brilliant performance, there isn’t much else to be positive about here. The script is sloppy and poor and the direction even worse. The overall effect of this is that whilst Blunt expertly plays a drunk, I just found myself wishing I were drunk throughout the experience.