The newest film starring Emily Blunt (“Into the Woods”, “Edge of Tomorrow”), “The Girl on the Train” tries to be this year’s “Gone Girl” but falls short and instead becomes another mediocre mystery thriller.
The film follows commuter Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt), the titular character, who tries to unravel the mystery behind her missing neighbor, Megan (Haley Bennett), while dealing with an alcohol-induced blackout and possible involvement in Megan’s disappearance.
While starting out unnecessarily convoluted, the plot for “Train” becomes more streamlined the further it goes. This works to create a suspenseful feeling and a few decent plot twists as it switches between multiple characters and timeframes.
Unfortunately, the final act becomes more like a Lifetime movie than a thriller as it takes a few final twists that aren’t completely thought out, which leaves the ending feeling less than satisfying while also trying to provide closure.
“Train” plays a lot with the themes of alcoholism and trust, with the former coming across as heavy-handed at times. These work in the film’s favor, though, giving Blunt’s character a good arc that feels complete by the end of her journey.
The rest of the characters, however, sadly come across as stereotypes and extremely unlikable. This helps the audience feel more for Blunt, but does make it harder to become invested in what happens to the others, which detracts from the overall mystery of the film itself.
The cast is hit-and-miss, with Blunt and Luke Evans (“Furious 7”) giving strong performances as Rachel and Haley’s husband Scott, respectively. Justin Theroux (“The Leftovers”), Rebecca Ferguson (“Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”) and Bennet (“Magnificent Seven”) all seem to phone it in, though, giving less-than-memorable runs as ex-husband Tom, new wife Anna and Megan.
The visuals are also somewhat forgettable, mimicking the color tones and camera work of “Gone Girl” to the point it feels more like a cheap imitation rather than its own movie. Some interesting editing and specific shots help to add to the suspenseful tone of the film, though, and play nicely into the plot to help keep things moving.
While Blunt’s strong performance and a decent mystery plot keep this film chugging along, a weaker cast and forgettable visuals keep “The Girl on the Train” from going full-steam ahead.