Spending hours each week on the same train, travelling to the same destination watching the same houses and lives shoot past is a concept that most commuters can relate to, and is the idea behind Tate Taylor’s adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ novel, The Girl on the Train. However, unlike her fellow passengers, Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) becomes fixated with watching the lives of a ‘perfect couple’ living in their New York suburban home, fantasying about their idealistic love for one another.
Triggered by a failed marriage and her inability to get pregnant, Rachel takes to drinking – sad and lonely, her obsession takes its toll on her sanity and after a shocking discovery, she finds herself stumbling late at night outside the house of her ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux) where he lives with his new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), just two doors down from the young lovers that have captivated her imagination. Waking to discover she is covered in blood with a cut head, last night memories have sunken into the drunken black hole she has made for herself. After the news that the girl she has watched for months, Megan (Haley Bennett), is missing – Rachel is sure of only one thing – she was there that night and needs to remember what happened.
The film is a highly sexualised rework of the book with rather far-fetched assumptions of the obliviousness nature of daily commuters. Regular flashbacks from the night in question spin and change as Rebecca tries to piece together what has happened twisting the production into a stylised thriller and make it hard to look away.
Blunt does a great job convincing us she is mess both inside and out, with her slurred words and addicts shake – a role set apart from previous, lighthearted characters. Rebecca Ferguson and Haley Bennett are also convincing as wives ruled by their husbands, keeping the mystery alive with many secrets of their own.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film as a non-reader of the book but can’t help wondering whether it’s another over Americanised adaptation of a seriously captivating thriller novel.
Watch the Trailer here
The Girl on the Train is in cinemas nationwide. Released 5 October 2016.