‘The Girl On The Train’ Review: Erotic Thriller Done To Perfection

Based on a best-selling novel, ‘The Girl On The Train‘ has been masterfully brought to the screen.

The Girl On The Train‘ is instantly reminiscent to Korean thrillers and early 90’s erotic thrillers like ‘Fatal Attraction‘. The non-linear storytelling and hyper-sexualized nature drew me in, but breaking down Suburban life was what sold the story.

The film follows an alcoholic divorcee who becomes entangled into a messy missing persons case. Simply, this movie mocks the idea of “the grass is much greener on the side” concept. Fantasizing about other people’s lives leads our main character, Rachel, into a twisted mess. Her black out drinking is a problem, but how bad is it? Is it so bad she is involved in the disappearance of a girl?

Voyeurism is dangerous. The three women the film, Rachel (Emily Blunt), Megan (Haley Bennett), and Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) are guilty of it. They have their own “perfect” lives shattered due to meddling and sudden changes of heart.

“Facebook And Drunk Ex-Wives Don’t Mix”
-Cathy (Laura Prepon)

The film is heavily marketed as Emily Blunt being the solo focus, but The Girl On The Train moniker doesn’t go to just her. Each of the women play a major role here. Their stories are told while the plot swirls around what’s seen from this train. This dynamic plays out beautifully even with all the moving pieces. It never once gets confusing, and you wait, in rapt attention, for the drama to unfold. Once you get to the climax, it delivers wonderfully.

Emily Blunt delivers some terrific monologues. Her dialogue seems to be the ramblings of a mad person, but the words she speaks and the way they capture them is superb. Usually heavy narration or intense monologuing can be tedious, but it works here thanks to Blunt’s energetic layering. Rachel’s drunk rambling and blackouts are a problem, but there is something else amiss here. Blunt’s performance is bold, daring, and I love how director Tate Taylor manages to highlight her inner turmoil.

My personal favorite performance is from Haley Bennett as the apathetic but pained Megan. Her character does go missing, but it doesn’t mean she is missing from the movie. The scenes with her and the therapist played by Edgar Ramirez are some of the most intensely sexual scenes I’ve seen in a Hollywood film in years. She plays this “Lolita“-like character, but with some honest depth. Cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen has a perfect eye for Bennett as she knows how to linger the camera on the character just enough to tantalize.

The Girl On The Train

Final Thoughts:

Everything came together for ‘The Girl On The Train‘.

The pulpy source material written by Paula Hawkins is almost gleefully brought to the screen. The developed characters of Hawkins’ are adapted well by screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson. There’s a blend of cinematic writing and novel writing that’s quite remarkable.

I can’t gush enough about the visuals of the film. Cinematography is stunning but it’s edited by Michael McCusker with precision. No shot last too long and it gives off a surreal feeling. The narrative is just hazy enough with the writing and editing to leave you guessing until the last minute. Not reading the book made for a better viewing experience as I’m genuinely happy to be surprised.

This is something to be witnessed. Even though the movie may dip into melodrama territory, it all felt like seeing a needed deconstruction of horrible people.

The Girl On The Train‘ comes with a huge recommendation.

Let me know how you feel about the movie in the comments below!

EJ Moreno
EJ Morenohttp://Vimeo.com/EJMoreno
Who is EJ Moreno? Is he a trained physician? No. Is he a former Miss Universe contestant? Possibly. With a bachelors degree in film and a love of pop culture, he brings an alternative view to the world of pop culture journalism. Follow him on Twitter @EJKhryst and check out his film work at Vimeo.com/ejmoreno