FIRST LOOK : Engrossing, Complex "Girl on a Train" Mostly Tense Mousetrap

Updated 2 years ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
FIRST LOOK : Engrossing, Complex "Girl on a Train" Mostly Tense Mousetrap

Coping with a nasty, unplanned divorce from an  "always blame her" emotionally  abusive husband, Tom Watson (Justin Theroux), Rachael (Emily Blunt) dully sits on a commuter train twice a day venturing from suburbs to New York City, where she used to work in public relations.

Rachael's passion for art suggests her "overactive imagination," which she admits in an opening narrative. Sketching romantic illustrations of a perceived 'perfect couple,' her subjects live next to the tracks. She strains for a glimpse into their lives  every time the locomotive passes. It's not a chance obsession --- she lived with her "ex" in one of the upscale homes and the ideal couple ("what I lost and what I want to be") Skip Hipwell (Luke Evan) and Megan (Harley Bennett) reside nearby. Megan bears a startling resemblance to Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) , the woman Tom married.

The divorce has not dissuaded the severely  inebriated and deeply depressed Rachael from stalking and harassing  Tom and Anna, who had the child she could not produce to please her then husband.

One day her starring out the train window spies Megan on an upstairs porch kissing another man. She will sink into a partial blackout , remembering leaving the train and walking toward a pedestrian tunnel. The blood and bruises, who knows? However, reports begin that Megan has disappeared.

FIRST LOOK : Engrossing, Complex "Girl on a Train" Mostly Tense Mousetrap

The who-dun-it is in full swing, although the odds favor Rachael.

Tate ("The Help") Taylor directs blending melodrama and mellow Alfred Hitchcock influences. He has his cinematographer emulate her fuzzy-headed life through distorted, wobbly camera angles accompanied by a pulsating moody musical score.

Anna, and Megan each have flashback moments when "their perspective" assists viewers. "Crazy girl" Rachael remains the focus courtesy of Blunt who despite her woebegotten state stirs shreds of empathy from  'been there, done that' bad break up audience members who have suffered similar dumped on feelings.

Elaborate flashbacks do confuse, but in the final assessment, prove necessary. They are not the walk out breaks either; those who vanish will return subject to 'how'd that happen' moments.

Audience members admitted concentrating to "keep up," then commenting (favorably) "what a script," adding "I wasn't sure" of the meandering outcome.

"Train's " not as satisfying as "Gone Girl" or stylish elements favored by Hitchcock, yet the haunting psychological thriller induces shivers, just not maximized to exploitation level.

FIRST LOOK : Engrossing, Complex "Girl on a Train" Mostly Tense Mousetrap




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