Film review: The Girl on the Train (15)

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SHOWCASE CINEMAS PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW

CAST: EMILY BLUNT, HALEY BENNETT, REBECCA FERGUSON, JUSTIN THEROUX, LUKE EVANS, EDGAR RAMIREZ, ALLISON JANNEY, LAURA PREPON, DARREN GOLDSTEIN & LISA KUDROW

RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 52 MINS

DIRECTOR: TATE TAYLOR

There were massive expectations for this thriller based on Paula Hawkins’ highly-acclaimed novel – but a flawed experience ultimately derails this intriguing premise.

It’s based on the harrowing daily New York commute of divorcee Rachel Watson (Sicario’s Emily Blunt) – now a personal issues-struggling alcoholic – who passes by her old house, which is still inhabited by her ex-husband (Justin Theroux) and his new wife (M:I-Rogue Nation’s Rebecca Ferguson) and child.

In her ‘bordering-on-wasted’ daily state her mind often ventures to the happier place of the house two doors down, where seemingly loved-up couple Megan (The Magnificent Seven’s Haley Bennett) and Scott Hipwell (Fast & Furious 6’s Luke Evans) live, and gives Rachel the image of the life she imagines, taking the focus away from the life she’s lost.

But when she sees something shocking from the train, which leads to her investigating when she’s totally inebriated, she wakes up the next morning covered in blood – and with the news that Megan is missing.

As she struggles to get her alcohol addiction under control, she then becomes invested in the case, which literally opens up Megan’s ‘Pandora’s Box’, and sets off a sequence of events with far-reaching consequences.

But well-renowned director Tate Taylor (The Help) regrettably puts style over substance – as this sits in that awkward zone between commercial Hollywood and an art house style indie flick – and it never really unravels in a satisfying way, which leads to a severe lack of enjoyment.

It does have its odd fleeting moments of ingenuity when it threatens to get back on the rails – and does have a decent twist towards the end – but really only relative newcomer Bennett comes out of this with any real career-changing credibility, as this plods towards a fairly generic finale.

And sadly, for a movie that is trying so hard to be this year’s Gone Girl, this lacks the tension, emotion and drama of that similarly-crafted thriller – and will be gone out of your head by the time you reach your car.

This girl just about reaches her destination, but instead of being that smooth uninterrupted Peterborough to London King’s Cross ride, it’s like the other train with eight annoying stops – it just about does the job but not without irritation.

Rating: 2½-5

Gavin Miller