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Title: The Girl on the Train

Movie: :2.5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :2.5stars:

HTS Overall Score:71

Books and film are usually very hard to keep on the same level. You have characters, multiple plot lines, and numerous intricacies that are almost impossible to replicate in a 2-hour film with what took hundreds upon hundreds of pages to transcribe. It’s just the way of things. In that respect films usually play second fiddle to the novel, and “The Girl on the Train” is no different in that regards. Paula Hawkins novel of the same name is no literary work of genius, but it is a fairly entertaining novel that became an international best seller overnight. It had a good twist and some great characterization (if not a slightly clichéd ending according to my wife), but it had gotten notoriety for a reason. The movie, on the other hand, is merely a serviceable piece of fiction that is mired down by horribly hackneyed writing and overly confusing flashbacks that serve only to deflect the viewers suspicions from the only logical source of the villain. The person that the film spent the entire time flailing about in the dark trying to keep the attention of the viewer away from. As such it wasn’t as horrible and embarrassing a flick as some critics made it out to be, but “The Girl on the Train” is in no way a good movie either.

Directed by Tate Taylor (“The Help”, James Brown biopic “Get on Up”), “The Girl on the Train” is a serviceable thriller that sticks rather close to the source material in terms of the basic maneuvers and motions of the plot. There is no wild deviations and changes to the source material in order to make something “new”, but the disjointed narrative and strange use of flashbacks keeps the film from really being anything more than a crude rendition of the novel (which already suffers from a rathe clichéd and predictable ending). There are some good performances by Emily Blunt and Rachel Ferguson, but otherwise the film just flounders around in the dark in order to keep the viewers’ attention long enough to distract them from the 800 lb gorilla in the room.

Rachel is an alcoholic wreck of a woman after her husband Tom (Justin Theroux) left her alcoholic butt and moved in with his mistress, Anna (Rachel Ferguson). Anna and Tom have moved on with their life and gotten married, but Rachel is still floundering around in her misery and despair. Her alcoholism ruined her marriage and she has slipped into a sort of psychotic mental state that has caused many a rift between herself and the people who at least care about, if not love, her. Anna and Tom’s life are suddenly thrown into chaos when their babysitter, Megan (Haley Bennett) is kidnapped with Rachel coming out of a drunken blackout with bruises and cuts on her and no memory of that night. The police are suspicious that Rachel has gone and done something serious in her stupor and the Megan’s husband Scott (Luke Evans) is left devastated with the knowledge that his wife is gone.

Trying to piece everything together, Rachel starts to follow the trail of clues back from her drunken night and put the puzzle back together again. It won’t be an easy task as the police think that she’s the most obvious suspect and Rachel doesn’t make it easy for anyone to trust her. She lies to Scott about being Megan’s friend in order to get information and continues to drink like a fish to douse her pain and suffering, which puts her even more in the spotlight. However, the mind is a powerful organ and little by little the clues start to come together. Bringing her one step closer to the truth, and one step closer to the danger that the truth personifies.

While “The Girl on the Train” is not exactly high art, it is a technically decent film. However, it’s nothing more than just that. Decent. The movie uses obtuse flashbacks and constant misdirection to the extreme in order to prove that Rachel is, as the book states, an unreliable witness. She is most certainly unreliable, and she’s is also unreliable to us. We’re not exactly sure WHAT is truth and what is fiction as everything that flashes through Rachel’s mind slowly turns out to be misinformation and straight out fantasy. This becomes rather frustrating to the viewer when they cannot trust what is being shown on screen until the finale. Everything SEEEMS to be coming together multiple times, but then Taylor whips the rug out from underneath you and says “psych”!

Emily Blunt and Rachel Ferguson are the saving grace here. Luke Evans and Justin Theroux do decent jobs with their role, as does Haley Bennett, but Emily is really the one to watch. She’s slightly miscast here, but she plays the fatigued and worn out drunk quite well. Giving one the illusion that she’s as unreliable and useless as the script makes her out to be. Ferguson acts the part of the worried wife and mother, but she is not given a whole lot to work with in order to stand out (the blonde wig was enough that she was almost unrecognizable, but her lack of accent really had me wondering if that was her at first).


Rated R for violence, sexual content, language and nudity

Video :4stars:
I have to admit that I’m slightly frustrated with the UHD presentation for “The Girl on the Train”, and it’s not because Universal did something wrong with the encoding here. The 4K UHD disc appears to be artifact free and a given a nice healthy bitrate. What I’m frustrated at is the fact that a 2K master was struck for a 4K film when the source was wonderful 35mm stock. There are some great looking 2K masters out there that translate well to 4K, but when you have the material to make a native 4K master then I say go for it. The comparison between the two formats seems to net very little real world benefits from the 1080p transfer to the 4K transfer, but I must admit that the 1080p image and the 4K ultraHD disc ARE very lovely indeed. It’s just that the 2 aren’t really that dissimilar. The HDR is really where the benefits come from, with deeper and inkier blacks, which give the film a darker and more somber feel than the Blu-ray. The same goes for some of the color grading. I noticed that the green hue of the film seems to have been softened to more of a blue tone and the end sequence looks slight different upon comparison too. Fine detail is still excellent and while I still hold that this is a great looking disc, it just isn’t a wild difference from the Blu-ray which is what I’m basing my score here today on.

Audio :4stars:
“The Girl on the Train” sports a very nice sounding DTS:X object oriented track. A track that has all the earmarks of being a fantastic experience, but doesn’t do much to differentiate itself from a good 7.1 DTS-HD MA track. There is some use of overheads here and there, but most of the time this is really a glorified (but still really good) lossless audio mix that you would find on many a Blu-ray release. The movie is a very talky thing and much of the experience is in the front soundstage. Vocals, crunching of leaves under foot and the more robust encounters stay mainly in the front, but there are several moments where the surrounds get some fun playtime too. The music fills out the back end and low end with some nice activity, and the famous tunnel scene has a goodly number of directional queues that add to the mystery and terror of the situation. While it isn’t a WILDLY dynamic DTS:X track, “The Girl on the Train” has a nicely engaging and well nuanced mix that doesn’t disappoint.

Extras :2.5stars:

• The Women Behind The Girl
• On Board The Train
• Audio Commentary with Director Tate Taylor
• Deleted and Extended Scenes

Overall: :3.5stars:

I really wanted to like “The Girl on the Train”. It seemed like a sure-fire winner with Emily Blunt and Rachel Ferguson involved. Both are incredibly talented actors and the trailer seemed fascinating. Sadly, it ended up being an entirely too predictable thriller that spends most of its time waving its arms and shouting in order to distract you from the overly obvious conclusion that most people already came to in the first 20 minutes. There just isn’t a whole lot of substance to the twist. On the other hand, the acting is well done and there is enough technical nuts and bolts that are screwed on properly to have me begrudgingly admit that it isn’t a horrible film. Just one that barely skates by with the knowledge that it could have been so much more. Whether or not you choose the Blu-ray or the 4K ultraHD I don't think you'll be too dissapointed in the specs. The UHD isn't as much of an increase in quality as I would have liked, but it is still an improvement. However, I'd personally give it a rent before I committed to a purchase being that the movie itself was a bit checkered.

Additional Information:

Starring: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson
Directed by: Tate Taylor
Written by: Erin Cressida Wilson (Screenplay), Paula Hawkins (Novel)
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: DTS:X (DTS-HD MA 7.1 Core) DTS Headphone:X, Spanish, French DTS 5.1
Studio: Universal
Rated: R
Runtime: 112 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: January 17th, 2017

Buy The Girl on the Train On 4K Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy The Girl on the Train On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Low Rental

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