Film on 11: The Girl on the Train

It's Friday and that means it's time for our weekly Film on 11 movie review with Jonathan Nettles

The Girl on the Train focuses on Rachel, who fantasized about a seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her commuter train passes by every day. She’s almost obsessed with them. Watching their moves from afar and imagining what their life is like. They also happen to live on the same street as her ex-husband, with his wife and daughter. In fact, it was the house that she and her husband lived in until their divorce. One day, she sees her something from the train that changes her view about the couple she admires so much. Rachel, an alcoholic, drunkenly decided to confront the couple but finds herself at the center of an unfolding mystery.

The Girl on the Train is based on the best-selling novel by Paula Hawkins. I read it recently and I think I would have like the movie a little more if I hadn’t read the book.  As with film adaptations, things from the book had to be dropped or changed to turn it into a 2-hour movie. There were 2 key scenes from the book that were altered and it really took some of the mystery and tension away. The movie felt disjointed. The book succeeds at jumping from character to character and back and forth in time but the movie fails to make that clear and almost seems to give up on it. This movie is also drawing a lot of comparisons to Gone Girl which is also a novel that was turned into a movie. It was released last year. They’re very similar books and you can tell the movie was going for a “Gone Girl” feel. That’s fine, but the difference for me is that after I saw Gone Girl I thought, “My wife is really going to enjoy this movie”. I saw “The Girl the Girl on the Train” with my wife and not only would I not have said that if she weren’t with me. We couldn’t decide if we liked it or not on the way home.

This movie didn’t feel really well-thought out as an adaptation from a novel. I don’t want to get too technical but there were camera angles that didn’t make fit the scene. Many angles and movement felt “unmotivated” meaning that they were done just to do it. Even the acting didn’t really feel up to what I’d expect from this cast. Emily Blunt had moments that were really good. She plays a good drunk but her British accent came in and out and I think the real problem is that her character didn’t translate well from page to screen. If you’ve read the book you’ll know she’s supposed to be an obsessive alcoholic whose life is out of control and she just makes things worse for herself at every corner. They try to establish that in the film but don’t go nearly far enough to make it clear.

The bottom line is that the book didn’t translate well to the screen and as-is without a book to draw on, it probably wouldn’t be a very good movie and for that reason, I don’t recommend it.

Also in theaters this week, Set against the antebellum South, The Birth Of A Nation follows Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner, accepts an offer to use Nat's preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities--against himself and his fellow slaves--Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.

Based on the novel Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson, Rafe has an epic imagination...and a slight problem with authority. Both collide when he transfers to an oppressive, rule-crazy middle school. Drowning in do's and don'ts, Rafe and his scheming best friend Leo hatch a plan to break every rule in the school's Code of Conduct. Its Ferris Bueller meets Home Alone as their battle with Principal Dwight explodes into chaos both real and imagined. But Dwight displays his own fiendish creativity, striking back at the rule-breakers. Meanwhile, Rafe struggles to hide his misbehavior from Jeanne, the straight-A, overachieving girl of his dreams, and at home, his mother's boyfriend -- a moochy, jack-of-no-trades named Bear -- threatens to become his stepfather.

Now available to stream:
Marguerite
Once Upon a Time in the West
Patton
Quiz Show
Unforgiven
Dazed and Confused
Three Kings
Grizzly Man
Barton Fink
The Imitation Game
Dheepan
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
The Commitments
Titanic
Happy People: A year in the Taiga
Ghost Town
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Viva
Chinatown
The Last Waltz
Let the Right One In
Bowling for Columbine
Before Sunset
The Host
Los Cronocrimenes (Time Crimes)
Roger Dodger
Pride and Prejudice
Lethal Weapon
Trollhunter
I Saw the Devil
Carrie
The Blair Witch Project
Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Now on DVD & Blu-Ray:
The Wailing (Goksung)
Into the Forest
Swiss Army Man
The Purge: Election year
X-Men: Apocalypse

 


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