First of all I should state that I haven’t actually read the book, and I have no idea whether the story corresponds in all particulars. I’m a little bemused by the claim that the film is based on ‘the book that shocked the world!’ because as far as I can see, there’s no real new ideas in the story, no concepts I haven’t seen before. In that respect, Gone Girl was far superior.
That said, I really enjoyed this film. It’s a pretty classic whodunit as we ride along with Rachel (Emily Blunt), trying to retrace her steps due to an alcoholic blackout. Blunt gives an incredible performance as a disastrously depressed woman in a downward spiral, absolutely Oscar-worthy, but then I thought that about Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl too.
There are some distressing elements in the film I didn’t know about going in, but if I had, I’d still have watched it. I’m going to list them briefly here before I go on and get a bit spoilery.
Triggers for; gaslighting (hoo boy, is there EVER gaslighting), alcoholism, marital abuse, child death, depression. There is a murder and while not WILDLY graphic, it’s shown in some detail and is somewhat bloody. I had the biggest issues when we discovered that Rachel had tried and failed to have a child and had undergone IVF, due to my own personal history. Watch with caution if any of these apply to you.
* * SPOILERS BELOW * *
I figured out who the killer was about halfway through the movie, when two suspects suddenly got ruled out and I realised that there wasn’t time to introduce anyone else. Soon after was when it became apparent that gaslighting was a major factor in what was happening to Rachel; that her alcoholic blackouts weren’t what she thought.
I felt immense sympathy for Rachel (possibly partly because of the struggle to have a child and the IVF, which was identified quite early on) and was rooting for her from the beginning. I was delighted when she was vindicated at the end of the movie.
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but from the hype I confess I expected something a little more out of the ordinary. There was no real surprise twist; the clues were there from the beginning and pretty easy to piece together. I’m going to give The Girl On The Train four stars. A good story with some great acting performances, still it didn’t have that something that would make it unforgettable.