My day job is a dream job for me: I am the sole librarian in a small town library. I love books and movies, therefore this is a match made in Heaven. Because I’m the only person employed there, I do all the check-ins and check-outs, and as a result, I see what titles are popular. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins has been a regular circulator for well over a year now, and thanks to director Tate Taylor’s film adaptation, I can see why. This riveting thriller is a mind-bending mystery that will captivate you until the final scene.
If you are not familiar with THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Universal:
The Girl on the Train is based on Paula Hawkins' bestselling thriller that shocked the world. Rachel (Emily Blunt), devastated by her recent divorce, spends her daily commute fantasizing about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day. Everything changes when she sees something shocking happen there, and becomes entangled in the mystery that unfolds.
Thankfully, you needn’t have read the book to follow the movie. I knew a very brief basis of the story, but had no problems keeping up with the plot. If anything, going into the film almost blind made it even more so enjoyable.
THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN is shot very well and looks great onscreen. The 4K Ultra HD really pops on this film, and the picture clarity is almost stunning. This is the first non-special effects-heavy film I’ve seen in 4K, and I have to say I’m very impressed. I wasn’t sure if there would be much of a difference between Blu-ray and 4K for films like this, but there definitely is. I’ll watch everything in 4K now, if I get the chance.
The acting in the film is superb with Emily Blunt giving an excellent performance as the main character, Rachel. She is joined by an outstanding supporting cast that includes Haley Bennett as Megan and Rebecca Ferguson as Anna. Also noteworthy are Justin Theroux, who plays Tom, and the ever recognizable Luke Evans, who portrays Scott.
The story in THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN starts off a bit slow, but it quickly ramps up into an intoxicating murder mystery. The pacing is nice, and the viewer is given just enough information to stay guessing, up until the final act. When the big reveal comes, it is both satisfying and gripping. I didn’t see the identity of the killer coming until it was right in front of my face toward the end. I love how this played out, too, because it kept me enthralled all the way through.
The film is also full of drama. I found it fascinating to see how different lives can be behind closed doors when compared to a passerby’s perceptions. This portrait study mimics real life in more ways than one, and it’s a big part of what makes the movie so powerful.
THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN is a big win for me, and I recommend it. Full of twists and turns, I’ll bet you will visit this thriller more than once. It is a taut “whodunit” in the vein of Alfred Hitchcock, and it entertains on several levels. The film hits store shelves tomorrow, so make a note.