THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES -

Direc­tor: Tate Tay­lor (The Help) Star­ring: Emily Blunt, Ha­ley Ben­nett, Re­becca Fer­gu­son, Justin Th­er­oux, Luke Evans Ver­dict: A perp on the turps? Or cov­er­ing her tracks with a loco mo­tive?

SEE­ING is be­liev­ing. Un­less you are a high-func­tion­ing, high-vol­ume al­co­holic like Rachel Wat­son (Emily Blunt). Then be­liev­ing any­thing you see is fraught with dan­ger.

In her few sober mo­ments, Rachel must come to grips with one un­avoid­able fact. She is now both a prime sus­pect and key wit­ness in a miss­ing per­sons af­fair that could soon be­come a mur­der case.

Since its pub­li­ca­tion in Jan­uary 2015, un­known Bri­tish au­thor Paula Hawkins’ seat-squirm­ing page-turner of a novel The Girl on the Train has be­come a global phe­nom­e­non.

The book’s catchy combo of sex, mur­der and shift­ing sus­pi­cions im­me­di­ately placed it on a par­al­lel plane to Gone Girl, which sim­i­larly held the whole world to heavy­breath­ing ran­som ear­lier this decade.

Though the im­pact of The Girl on the Train’s screen adap­ta­tion won’t prove to be as ex­plo­sive as that of Gone Girl, new­com­ers get­ting their first taste of this tor­rid tale will have them­selves a blast.

Those who hold the book near and dear will take a lit­tle longer to feel and fall for the movie’s reck­less rum­ble. And not just be­cause Hol­ly­wood has switched the set­ting from sub­ur­ban Lon­don to the out­skirts of New York City.

In­stead of a tale a reader had to piece to­gether from a col­lec­tion of un­re­li­able wit­nesses, the movie set­tles pri­mar­ily for the woozy pointof-view of Rachel.

What lit­tle our half-cut hero­ine knows of the world these days is glanced through a train win­dow along her reg­u­lar daily com­mute. There is one stretch of the line that Rachel knows like the back of her un­steady hand.

On the right day, she can get a clear view of her for­mer hus­band (Justin Th­er­oux), his new wife (Re­becca Fer­gu­son) and their at­trac­tive, sex­driven neigh­bour (Ha­ley Ben­nett).

For the first two acts of The Girl on the Train, the con­trasts iden­ti­fied be­tween what Rachel thinks she sees and what oth­ers hold to be the truth are sounded out with all the sub­tlety of a jack­ham­mer in a li­brary. It is all in the in­ter­est of hav­ing us be­lieve Rachel is al­ways on the sauce, and there­fore com­pletely off her rocker.

If the movie waits too long to play the oblig­a­tory “or is she?” card, it is cer­tainly not the fault of Blunt, who mas­ter­fully pours her­self into her soaked and sor­row­ful char­ac­ter.

Blunt (along with Ben­nett to a lesser ex­tent) reg­is­ters strongly enough as Rachel to have us over­look­ing the movie’s con­sid­er­able weak­nesses (not the least of which is a hammy han­dling of the tale’s fi­nal big re­veal).

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