Emily Blunt’s performance is really the only reason I would recommend The Girl on the Train. While I found Rachel to be logically inconsistent, there are genuine moments of brilliance brought to her through this interpretation. Rachel is quite unlikeable yet garners sympathy because she doesn’t know any better. The divorce with her ex-husband makes her question her self worth and sends her down a dark path of alcoholism. The story shifts around multiple characters and her perspective is noticeably the most skewed. The idea of an unreliable narrator always makes for an engaging mystery yet it doesn’t fully come together in an emotionally satisfying way. The reveal of the events that actually transpired during the “tunnel sequence” is going to make or break this movie for you. I felt the scene had a good payoff but was shot awkwardly and was longer than it needed to be.
The film also suffers from issues with the pacing. The Girl on the Train has a runtime just under two hours but seems to drag on for an eternity. It takes too much time to get to the adrenaline heavy third act and loses a lot of steam along the way. The audience’s reactions to some of the heinous things that happen in that last half hour make for a fun movie-going experience as all hell breaks loose. I was also pleasantly surprised by the amount of humor in this grim tale. The majority of the jokes come from Rachel’s drinking problem which might seem like an easy target but are actually the biggest laughs of the movie. My favorite moment came from her interaction with a stranger who made an observation that really summed up her erratic behavior in one cleverly delivered exchange.
This movie disappointed me because it came off as an amalgamation of several different films. If anything, it is trying so hard to be Gone Girl. The performances are fine though Emily Blunt easily stands head and shoulders above the rest. Her portrayal of this manic character is captivating and is the movie’s driving force. It’s a shame there isn’t anything particularly compelling about the storytelling. The movie has twists and turns but you’ll see them coming from a mile away.