THRILLER CAUSES YAWNS
Film Review by Fiore
“Based on the exciting best-seller.” “A thrill a minute.” “Truly one of the best thrillers of all time.” “The darkest, sexist thriller.” These were some of the quotes used to hype the film THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, based on the “number one best-selling thriller on the NYT readers list”. So, why did I yawn so many times during the film’s agonizing two-hour duration?
THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN is a movie filled with so much estrogen, if it had a drop more it would be a Midol tablet. Have you ever listened to two or more women speaking and marveled at their ability to carry an entire conversation and never use a complete sentence? If so, then you know exactly what it’s like watching THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN.
Editor Michael McCusker, A.C.E, uses time shift editing to tell the story. The problem is the story, with the exception of two segments, is told in chronological order. Yet, the graphics setting the time of the sequence are disjointed. None of the timeline makes sense. If the crew of the USS Enterprise jacked with the time-space continuum in this fashion, we would all be Borg. McCusker is scheduled to edit the next WOLVERINE movie. Hopefully, he regains a sense of linear time before Hugh Jackman brandishes his claws.
The movie begins with anecdotal introductions of the three main female characters: Rachel, played by Emily Blunt, who is a delusional alcoholic; Anna, played by Rebecca Ferguson, who is the typical suburban housewife and homewrecker; and Megan, played by Haley Bennett, a nymphomaniac whore. Blunt has been tapped to play the rebooted version of MARY POPPINS. Her best performances to date were her roles as an idealistic agent in SICARIO, and as Gwen in the remake of THE WOLFMAN. Both of those films featured Benicio Del Toro. Perhaps if he has a part in MARY POPPINS, she’ll be able to take up Julie Andrews’ mantle.
Ferguson offers a yeoman performance. She received the BFCA’s Critics Choice nod for Best Supporting Actress for her role in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION. She was the female warrior opposite Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and will reprise that role in the next film in the series. Bennett is on the rise in Tinseltown. She can also be seen in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN remake, giving her the luxury of having two concurrent films in the top ten box office list.
Most disturbingly, a majority of the women in the preview audience both understood and identified with these women. Perhaps this is why myriad women and girls are addicted to prescriptions designed to calm, sooth and enhance their lives. This is the result of feminist propaganda which has distorted and countermanded the female psyche. These characters are not normal; they are aberrations. Understanding and identifying with them are signs of a disturbed individual.
Screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson (beware the dreaded three-name people), who crafted the adaptation from the book by Paula Hawkins, eventually makes the loonies the protagonists and of course the men the antagonists, turning this unprecedented thriller into a mere chick flick. The underlying tome is so juvenile, it’s insulting. In the climatic reel, one of the philandering male no-goods is dispatched with a corkscrew. There hasn’t been a more Freudian murder on screen since Malcolm McDowell killed a woman with a penis statue in CLOCKWORK ORANGE.
The men who must subject themselves to this sexist women’s fantasy are Justin Theroux, as Tom; Luke Evans as Scott; and Edgar Ramierez as Dr. Kamal Abdic. Evans is the only notable performance here. Ramierez is especially disappointing. His performance is sluggish and unanchored; a far cry from his most recent screen appearance as Roberto Duran in HANDS OF STONE.
KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:
1. THE WOODS
2. THE TUNNEL
GIRL ON THE TRAIN was shot on film, a rarity in movie making today. While film purists claim, rightfully, that film still provides the truest look for a movie, there is no denying it is costly. It seems Director of Photography Charlotte Bruus Christensen (really, do I need to repeat it?) with the help of Director Tate Taylor, inserted many shots and sequences in THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN just so the footage would not be wasted on the editing room floor. This could explain the film’s disjointed visage; but it does not alibi the tremendously slow pace of the movie. A thriller is supposed to be gripping, keeping you on the edge of your seat. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN plods along with unlikable characters and an apathetic mien.
I enjoy good thrillers. A good thriller can be watched numerous times, even though you know the exciting and revealing conclusion. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN doesn’t come close.
THE GRADE FOR THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN = F