Saturday, November 5, 2016


Rachel (Emily Blunt) is a divorcée, an alcoholic, and a depressed woman who is struggling to keep in touch with life. She takes the train for the city every day and comes back in the evenings with the same train. She always sits in the same place and in order to have the best view on Megan (Haley Bennett), a girl who lives in a house Rachel passes by every day and over whom she is unhealthily obsessed.

I will stop there because I would consider anything more than that a spoiler for the film and if you have yet to read or watch anything about this film I would recommend to anyone to do as I did and go in completely blind because I had a blast with this mystery film.

The Girl on the Train graces us with yet another killer performance by Blunt and with a relentlessly riveting experience that is more than just about guessing 'who did it?' and, contrary to what many have said, has nothing to do with Gone Girl neither on a cinematic level, nor thematically.

After seeing this film there is one thing that just was stuck in my head: Emily Blunt's performance. I have been a supporter of her since the first time I saw a movie of her's and she has just kept building upon that and has now reached the level of what is possibly the best actress of our times. She nails this role. She doesn't overplay it, her persona does not transpire on screen, both the actress and the acting disappear and leave place for a fully realized character.

Many could have overplayed the drunk element, many would have overplayed the depressive one, and many more would have lost themselves in melodramatic territory. Not Blunt. She keeps this thing together at every single emotional beat and every plot twist, this performance feels so alive and so real, the empathy you manage to reach with this unstable character is incredible and even in her most mad moments where it would seem like it's going too far, Blunt comes in and grounds this person in reality. I have hardly ever seen drunkenness being portrayed so tactfully and so touchingly on the big screen. We manage to understand Rachel's every move, the way she thinks, and really get an insight into her tragic paranoia and her incredibly sad life.

The rest of the all star cast is very good too and Rebecca Ferguson demonstrates she is here to stay after Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation. Taylor takes an interesting choice with the photography of the film and shoots almost everything on a tight lens in close up. I have to say that it took some time to get used to, but the choice was actually very smart and it gives the film a unique feel and juxtaposes this style to the paranoia of these characters. Every one of them is shot in their own particular way reflecting their journey and whilst I think there is a useless effort from the film to differentiate these characters clearly for the audience at the start, the cinematography worked beautifully and enhanced every story turn and plot twist with truly inventive visuals. This film, for example, gets the characters remembering flashy memories right, something that is really hard to do.

Thinking about the feature a little more I realized how much I like the intrigue, how smartly it was built up, and more than that how Rachel fits into every one of these story threads seamlessly and brings them together at the end with this great performance by Blunt. Yet, what I also realized was how Megan, Haley Bennet's character, ends up having very little to do. The film digs into her backstory a lot and I felt like she should have been a bigger component of this, her effect on the story is less than what the premise makes the audience wish for, and even Bennet herself, despite being the great actress she is, ends up playing the role a little too sexually-one-note.

I am proud to say that I had loads of excitement with this film and considered myself blessed to see such a performance unfold on screen. There are little moments of acting by Blunt that really open up a world and that is really when acting comes alive the most for me: in the small moments of empathy that you do not expect and that hit you right in the gut. Add to that a fantastic mystery with great performances and direction across the board and the result is a distinctly crafted thriller.

James' Score: 8/10

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