Sunday, October 9, 2016

Movie Review: The Girl on the Train


My friend Adriana got more than she bargained for when she accompanied me to The Girl on the Train on Friday night. We both liked the novel (it's on my list of top-five audiobooks of 2015), and although I was worried about it being too creepy/scary, I looked forward to seeing it.

Well, Adriana and I have hugged before, certainly, but on the occasion of our movie date, I spent the better part of 112 minutes hanging on her arm and/or burying my face in her shoulder. We were very, very close during this film. I'm not even sorry because I didn't have a choice.

It's not like I didn't know what was going to happen in this suspenseful flick. It's faithful to the blockbuster novel, with most scenes just as I recall them and in the order I expected. I kept hanging on her because the violent scenes I knew were coming are really brutal and disgusting. I guess violence in real life is also that way, so maybe the artistic choice makes sense. But, as a viewer, it felt gratuitous. At one point, in anticipation of a scene where I knew there'd be a gruesome death, I excused myself to the bathroom, only re-entering when I knew it'd be over.

The sex is nasty, too. I leaned over to Adriana and said, "There's a lot of f&*ed up sex in this movie." There totally is - explicit copulations enacted for all the wrong reasons. That happens in the book, but it pained me to watch.

All of the discomfort might have been worth it if the movie had something interesting to say.  
If it does, I didn't get it. The ending - meant to reassure me that things turned out okay for the main character - seemed heavy-handed and cheap. There is a series of shots that I think are the Three Muses, meant to represent the interconnectedness of the three main characters. I hate to say this, but that seemed kind of dumb.

Also not super great were the tight, tight close-ups of the three main characters' faces. In the book, they're all hopelessly unreliable as narrators. In the movie, it the uber close shots are saying, "Hey, Viewer! Word to the wise! You're not getting a larger picture!" It seemed too literal and distracting.

Of course, I'm glad to have seen The Girl on the Train. I'm not saying you shouldn't see it. But, I do like most movies and I was only "meh" on this one. Probably you shouldn't see it if haven't read the book, or if you read it and didn't like it. If that's your situation, I think you might hate this movie.



1 comment:

Rachel Engh said...

loved reading this review. xoxo, your sister.