The tracks take surprising twists in this entertaining mystery starring Emily Blunt. This sexy thriller is getting mixed reviews, with some claiming the movie is actually better than the book for a change.
Unraveling the convoluted chronology, we are introduced to Rachel (Emily Blunt), our narrator and the titular character, who spends long stretches of each weekday riding the train back and forth into New York City. Along the way, there’s a particular house she looks for. Living there is her vision of the ideal couple: pretty, blond Megan (Haley Bennett) and her husband, Scott (Luke Evans). Every time she sees them, they seem so much in love. She overlays her fantasies and hopes on these two, whom she has never met, and feels betrayed when she glimpses Megan sharing a kiss with her psychologist, Dr. Abdic (Edgar Ramirez).
We learn that Rachel once lived only a couple of houses away from Megan and Scott. That was before alcoholism claimed her marriage. Now, her ex-husband, Tom (Justin Theroux), lives there with his new wife, Anna (Rebecca Ferguson). Things become complicated for Rachel when Megan disappears under mysterious circumstances on the night when Rachel decides to confront Megan about her possible infidelity. And, due to a booze-induced blackout, Rachel has no memory of what happened during that encounter.
It’s an intriguing premise, and Blunt melts into the role like ice in a glass. She looks lost, ravaged by hopelessness, her voice thickening into syrup, her gait a confused stumble.
The resolution of the film’s central mystery is a slight letdown and comes after the story has written itself into a corner. But the journey is so good it doesn’t matter that the destination comes as a disappointment.
And many, many people already know where the story is headed, since Paula Hawkins’ 2015 novel sold like an Adele album. Upon its release it was looked at as the new “Gone Girl,” and the movie is pegged to the same weekend when “Gone Girl” opened two years ago.
There are problems with “Girl on the Train” — it’s often hard to tell Megan and Anna apart (they’re supposed to look similar, but it’s not a problem in the book as you see the name on the page), the male characters feel underwritten, and the tone at times feels overwrought. But, if you’re asking whether it’s as good as the book, you should pause before answering — the book, alas, didn’t have Blunt in it.