Paula Hawkins is on file as disliking comparisons of her sensationally profitable 2015 bestseller The Girl on the Train to the previous girl” crime fiction smash, Gone Girl. There’s little question that Tate Taylor, the director of the movie version of Hawkins’ novel, may even object to having his work held up next to David Fincher’s cinematic take on Gone Girl, as the juxtaposition will certainly not be to his benefit.
A morose, grim and intensely one-dimensional thriller about an alcoholic’s wrestle to make sense of a detailed-to-home murder in addition to her personal thoughts, this main fall launch from Universal can depend on a panting public to pack multiplexes upon its Oct. 7 opening. But this train could hit a yellow industrial light ahead of anticipated down the road.
Distinguished only by a fairly extraordinary musical score by Danny Elfman, working in an entirely uncharacteristic mode, and a few adventurous camerawork from DP Charlotte Bruus Christensen, the film may be very trustworthy to the guide each structurally and in dramatic incident. The adjustments lie elsewhere: The setting has been shifted from greater London to the New York City suburbs, the milieu is far more upscale than within the guide, and the title character within the film is each extra physically attractive and less ironic than on the web page.
As the cinema is arguably the creative medium most conducive to conveying sustained voyeurism, this specific story held a great deal of potential. The first mistake of forged-off ex-wife Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) is to proceed to live in immediate proximity to her ex, Tom Watson (Justin Theroux), and his beautiful new spouse, Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), especially now that they’ve a baby, something a jealous Rachel was unable to supply.
While drowning her sorrows with the bottle and having lengthy since lost her job as a result of drunkenness, Rachel spies on and harasses Tom and Anna with persistent phone calls, undesirable visits and, unbeknownst to them, prying appears to be like as Rachel passes by their home twice a day on the Metro North commuter line on her approach to idle days within the metropolis.
Along this river route also lies the home shared by extremely-macho Scott Hipwell (Luke Evans) and his gorgeous young mate Megan (Haley Bennett), who not solely bears an acute resemblance to Anna however, at the outset, works because the nanny for Anna’s child. Rachel likes to spy on her, too, and one day her prying eyes hit pay dust when she spots Megan on an upstairs deck kissing a man who’s decidedly not her husband.
In reality, it’s the local women’ favorite shrink, dreamy-trying Dr. Kamal Abdic (Edgar Ramirez), a problematic character in that, a) he has some professional ethics points he must type out, b) he simply kind of disappears from the narrative at a sure point and c) his name suggests Middle Eastern descent (explicitly so in the e book) however the function is performed with a lightweight Spanish accent. Once it was determined to cast Ramirez, an excellent actor, why not simply change the character’s name as an alternative of inviting perplexity?
The generally formidable screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson has retained Hawkins’ storytelling architecture, which includes shuffling three feminine first-person points of view as well as hopscotching among past and present time frames. Still, the central voice belongs to Rachel, who spends a great deal of her time trying to recollect the small print of an terrible drunken night when something very unhealthy occurred.
The downside, nonetheless, is that Rachel simply cannot stay off the sauce. Taylor and his cinematographer transfer the digital camera around in any variety of disorienting, unsteady, focus-altering methods to communicate the protagonist’s instability. But the bottom line is that what we’re taking a look at a lot of the time is a lady with bleary eyes, blotchy complexion and a demeanor of bitter discontent who nonetheless stays movie-star pretty. In the book, Rachel says of herself, I am now not fascinating, I’m off-putting in a roundabout way. It’s not just that I’ve placed on weight, or that my face is puffy from the ingesting and the dearth of sleep; it’s as if people can see the injury written throughout me …” Try because the actress might, all of Blunt’s grimaces, slurred phrases and unbalanced walking do not actually convince that she is Rachel; it seems like an act.
But the actual drawback is that she’s a drag, as is virtually everyone else who populates this dire tale of serial misbehavior amongst would-be-but-not-actually mates. The puzzle of how the varied personal and narrative pieces will ultimately match together exerts a smidgen of curiosity, however the characters are so dour and un-dimensional as to ask no curiosity about them. The two principal men, Tom and Scott, are humorless, ornery, sexually presumptuous and incapable of saying an interesting word about something. The ladies aren’t significantly better: The sullen Megan resembles a gorgeous zombie, Anna can suppose or communicate of little other than her child, and Rachel only with nice problem emerges from her booze-soaked cocoon. Taylor’s first feature was called Pretty Ugly People; that could equally function the title for this one.
All of this wouldn’t matter quite a lot if the central mystery had been more compelling. But the ever-present chance of trick endings to the side, it isn’t too difficult to come up with essentially the most rational supposition as to who the baddie is, and the revelation, when it comes, is not in the slightest degree gasp-inducing. The different suspense charges as little greater than curiosity, as to whether or not Rachel will ever pull herself collectively and pour the hooch down the drain as a substitute of down her throat.
A few good character performances lurk across the edges, together with these by Allison Janney as an approachable cop; Laura Prepon, given too little display time as Rachel’s indulgent landlady; and especially Lisa Kudrow, who brings exceptional verve to a nothing role.
The lone artistic component to command coercive interest right here is Elfman’s score, which employs sonic currents of tonal irregularities, pulsations and temper instigators quite than melodies, typical stress tropes or any of his trademark gambits from the Tim Burton collaborations. He virtually makes the film appear good infrequently.
Opens: Oct. 7 (Universal)
Production: Marc Platt Productions
Cast: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez, Laura Prepon, Allison Janney, Darren Goldstein, Lisa Kudrow, Lana Young
Director: Tate Taylor
Screenwriter: Erin Cressida Wilson, based mostly on the novel by Paula Hawkins
Producers: Marc Platt, Jared LeBoff
Executive producer: Celia D. Costas
Director of photography: Charlotte Bruus Christensen
Production designer: Kevin Thompson
Costume designers: Michelle Matland, Ann Roth
Editor: Michael McCusker
Music: Danny Elfman
Casting: Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee
R ranking, 112 minutes