The Bock’s Office: ‘Girl on the Train’ derailed by poor adaptation | SteamboatToday.com

The Bock’s Office: ‘Girl on the Train’ derailed by poor adaptation

Andy Bockelman

Rachel catches sight of something disturbing in "The Girl on the Train." The movie is about a woman who fantasizes about a couple she sees on her daily commute only to learn the wife is missing and believes she may have something to do with it.

With a form of transport as antiquated as a train, timing is everything to keep it moving the way it should. But, with the movie "The Girl on the Train," the people at the controls speed along so much, we're destined to have a crash.

If you go…

"The Girl on the Train," rated R

Rating: 2 out of 4 stars

Running time: 112 minutes

Starring: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson and Justin Theroux

Now playing at Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas.

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Rachel Watson's (Emily Blunt) life has become unbearable.

Her once loving marriage is long gone thanks to her problematic drinking that sent her ex-husband (Justin Theroux) into the arms of another woman (Rebecca Ferguson), with the happy couple and their new baby residing in the suburban house where Rachel believed she would grow old with a family of her own.

Rachel can't help living in the past as the commuter train she regularly rides always passes by her old home, but she finds solace elsewhere: Jess and Jason (Haley Bennett, Luke Evans), a picture-perfect pair in the same neighborhood who seem to have everything she ever wanted.

The fantasy she's constructed of the couple she's never met but watches constantly comes crashing down when she observes an indiscretion in the relationship, sending her into a drunken tailspin.

When Rachel awakens bloodied, baffled and hung over, she has no recollection of the night before, but upon learning that Jess — whose real name is Megan — is missing, she fears the worst that she may have done or something horrible during her blackout.

Blunt doesn't quite fit the sloppy, miserable mess who's described in Paula Hawkins' bestselling novel, but she is nonetheless utterly convincing as a woman drowning in self-pity and a steady downpour of booze, suddenly finding that alcoholism is the least of her problems as her mind plays tricks on her at the worst time.

Bennett is likewise captivating as Megan, whose true personality is nothing like the content housewife Rachel has created in her mind, the details of her vanishing slowly being revealed.

Then there's Ferguson, doing her best as the poorly written Anna, a one-dimensional mommy whom Rachel will always see as the other woman and the usurper of her role as wife and mother.

Theroux lacks charm but brings intensity to Tom, whose patience with his inebriated ex is wearing thin, while Evans has little to do as Scott — the real name of the fictitious Jason — on edge as the prime suspect in his wife's disappearance.

Allison Janney does well in a beefed-up part as the detective looking into Megan's case with little to no sympathy for anyone in this sordid neighborhood.

Hawkins' book served as a stream of consciousness narrative shared by three women — Rachel, Megan, Anna — but even though this trio of ladies who have all had some version of the same life narrate a bit, the introspection is not there.

Director Tate Taylor has been used to more upbeat material in bringing "The Help" and "Get on Up," but a heavy drama and mystery just isn't his forte. The screenplay by Erin Cressida Wilson is jumbled and chaotic, which at times is beneficial in portraying the moments of Rachel and Megan's lives that are less than tidy, but ultimately exposes the weaknesses in Hawkins' already somewhat stilted story.

Also, not for nothing, but what's the point of relocating a British book to New York City when most of the major players aren't American and the lead still speaks with an accent?

Even with some good performances and a surprisingly strong climax, "The Girl on the Train" is presented as a combination of "Rashomon" and "Gaslight," but with its poor pacing it ends up being a Lifetime movie with a bigger budget. Put it this way: if it were a train, you'd get off well before your stop and hire an Uber driver.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @TheBocksOffice.

If you go…

“The Girl on the Train,” rated R

Rating: 2 out of 4 stars

Running time: 112 minutes

Starring: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson and Justin Theroux

Now playing at Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas.