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‘Girl on the Train’ offers viewers a juicy plot twist

By Alana Hodson

Section: Arts

October 28, 2016

Recently released on Friday, Oct. 7, “The Girl on the Train” starring Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett and Rebecca Ferguson offers a satisfying experience for the fans of dark, psychological thrillers. While I must confess that I am certainly no film connoisseur and have limited knowledge, if any, of the official standards that define a good film from a poor one, I am an average person who is able to report that my money was certainly well spent on viewing this film.

A friend and I had decided to see this movie on a whim, rather than because of any particularly appealing reviews, so I approached “The Girl on the Train” with essentially zero expectations, other than the vague notion that it was of a more serious nature. I sat through the film completely and continuously intrigued. Right from the opening scene, a seemingly mundane commute to inner New York City (a place many of us can easily imagine ourselves, for those who have ever taken the commuter rail), something felt odd—something not quite right about the scene. I began to wonder about its cause; is it the peculiar rosy tint to the main character’s (Emily Blunt) cheeks? Her bloodshot eyes? Is it the suspicious glances of the other passengers as she meets their fleeting gaze over the top of the seats?

Or perhaps, and this is what I happened to cue in on most intently, it was the unusual clarity with which Blunt’s character, Rachel, perceives the outside world from her seat on the train. We are shown over the course of multiple trips how Rachel appears to have a fascination with the residents of two houses that fall in sight of the passing train. In one house, Rachel has found a couple (played by Haley Bennet and Luke Evans) that she imagines to be the embodiment of everything she wished her life could be, and in the other resides the loose ends of her shattered past, including her unfaithful ex-husband.

As the movie progresses and the story unfolds, I began to understand the twisted connections between Rachel and the residents of these two houses. My attention and concentration in an iron grasp, I tried to puzzle out the inconsistencies in the character’s lives alongside Rachel attempting on-screen to understand why her memories, present and past, have been shrouded in mystery. Intriguingly written and expertly directed, the plot leaves the viewer contemplating the sinister events as they happen, and the actors and actresses guide the viewer into a deeper insight of the nature of the characters—how their histories, relationships, instincts and ideas have influenced their actions. I personally appreciated that not only did “The Girl on the Train” offer a thought-provoking and thrilling story, but it also dedicated much insight into the mind of the main character. Plus, to make the experience all the more exciting, a dark twist to the story is included towards the end.

Even the background to the movie, for those who care for further research into the story, is interesting. It is based on a novel of the same name by Paula Hawkins, set in England, which is why Emily Blunt speaks with her native London accent despite the setting being changed to New York. The novel held a #1 spot on the best seller list in the U.S. in 2015 and 2016, and it currently holds the record for the longest consecutive run as #1 best seller in the U.K. The film was written faithfully to the book except for a slight difference in the execution of the plot twist, but I am certain it does not dampen the effect (although I have not read the book).

I highly recommend “The Girl on the Train” to everyone—well, except those who don’t want to be mentally invested in their films and prefer pure action instead—but especially for those who love psychological thrillers without a lot of gore (like me). At the very least, Emily Blunt delivered a fantastic performance (and she was even five months pregnant by the end of filming!). Of course, I wouldn’t be so cruel as to spoil such an interesting movie, so I highly encourage you to go see “The Girl on the Train” while it’s still in theaters.

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