The Girl on the Train

Directed By: Tate Taylor

Starring: Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Allison Janney, Édgar Ramírez, and Lisa Kudrow

The 2016 awards season is off to its unofficial start (it really begins in earnest next month by most standards), and I have an interesting prediction this year.  For the better part of this decade, we've had knockout films that have garnered a whole hell of a lot of prestige released in this month.  Think 12 Years A Slave.  Think Whiplash.  Think The Martian.  By the time we get to the Super Bowl of movies late into the winter next year, I predict that we won't have too many of the movies released this month left standing.  American Honey won't likely appeal to the Academy.  The Birth of a Nation is solid but unfortunately mired by the stigma of rape.  Our latest big release The Girl on the Train falls flat and fails to be this year's Gone Girl.

Divorced from her ex-husband Tom Watson (Justin Theroux) and remarried to the nearest alcohol bottle, Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) lives out most of her days in a drunken haze.  Though she rides the train each day somewhere to some job, alimony is what pays her bills, including her tabs at local bars.  Still clinging to her old life, Rachel stalks Tom and his hot new blonde wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) by randomly calling and dropping by her old house.  When their nanny Megan Hipwell (Haley Bennett) — a blonde who resembles Anna — goes missing conveniently near the train, Rachel becomes suspect number one thanks to her self-destructive habits.  Detective Sgt. Riley (Allison Janney) pays Rachel a visit and inquires about the whereabouts of Megan, sending the drunk further along her downward spiral.  To make matters exponentially worse, Rachel inserts herself even more into the already grim situation by connecting with Megan's husband Scott (Luke Evans).

I am no fan of The Girl on the Train.  Lacking the thrills and suspense needed to propel a whodunnit of this nature to greatness, Tate Taylor's adaptation of the novel of the same name by author Paula Hawkins dwells instead in mediocrity.  I mean it really fails to razzle and dazzle on the big screen to the point that my utter boredom is the most significant thing I remember about the film.  It's a bland treatment of the source material that unfolds in the same kind of foggy haze that defines Rachel Watson's everyday life.  It meanders without purpose or passion.  Aside from Blunt's Watson, it serves up a colorless supporting ensemble giving us uninspired portrayals of one-dimensional characters that completely lack depth and definition.

As I look at The Girl on the Train through the rearview mirror, the only part of the film that stands tall in my memory is Emily Blunt's performance as our lead Rachel Watson.  She's disheveled.  She's unkempt.  She's completely unhinged.  Self-destructive in every way fathomable, Blunt digs deep for her turn as Rachel in this dark, twisted performance.  It's a real shame that a performance this strong is wasted in such a dismal movie and it marks the first misstep for the Sicario actress in quite a while.

The Girl on the Train
gets a 0.09% rating.  Have a few rounds of gin and tonic with this one.