The novel The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, was billed as the next Gone Girl. The mysterious thriller filled that role pretty well. Now comes the inevitable film adaptation.
Emily Blunt dresses down as alcoholic divorcee Rachel who gets embroiled in a Rear Window-ish sitch from her daily seat on the train to New York City. Her obsession with Megan Hipwell (Haley Bennett, hot on the heels of The Magnificent Seven) and her husband, Scott (Luke Evans), leads her to become a main suspect, alongside the husband and a sketchy psychiatrist named Dr. Abdic (Edgar Ramirez), in the beautiful young woman’s disappearance. As if that were not enough, Megan happens to live down the road from Rachel’s ex, Tom (Justin Theroux), and his new wife, Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), and nannies their baby girl.
Hawkins provided a lot of complications, and screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson (Secretary) includes them all. If you have yet to read the book, the movie ensures you never need to. The Girl on the Train is thorough, if lacking in the novel’s shadowy and propulsive energy. Director Tate Taylor shot this film in dreary, gray tones that resemble Fifty Shades of Gray. Fortunately, the final couple of acts pick up steam, as the overly twisty plot unknots itself and Justin Theroux gets more screen time.
Kudos to the makeup artists who turned the beautiful Blunt into a doughy lush; they deserve an Academy Award. The rest of the movie is an overly straight adaptation of a pretzel of a novel that provides little incentive for viewing by anyone who already knows what happens.