• The Girl on the Train (2016) - An overtly long and repetitive ride through sinister territories with interesting passengers - 6/10 (10/10/16)

    The Girl on the Train (2016)

    ''The Girl on the Train'' is a psycho thriller in the key of but not as good as ''Gone Girl''. It's recommendable for genre fans but far from being a highlight.

    The movie deals with the disappearance of a nanny and is told through numerous changes of time, space and perspective. We constantly switch from the present to events that have happened a week, two months, four months, six months or even several years ago. Numerous parts of the film take place in recurring closed spaces such as an apartment, a house, a psychologist's office and a train. Most parts of the movie are told through the eyes of an alcoholic divorcée while other parts are told through the eyes of the mentally unstable nanny. Other parts are however told through a third person view from an omniscient narrator. These constant changes aren't forming a clever puzzle as in a movie like ''Memento'' but only harm the coherent flow of the film and evoke an illusion of diversity to compensate for a rather shallow plot. The only advantage of this procedure is that the movie is focusing on character development by giving some vital background information about the main characters. The disadvantage is not only that the structure is confusing but also that many mysteries are revealed too quickly. In the last third of the movie, it becomes so obvious what must have happened to the nanny that it drastically decreases the tension of an initially promising story.

    While the acting of all actresses and actors involved is really good, it's difficult for the audience to identify with any of the characters. Most of them are twisted, shameful and repulsive in one way or another. Most characters are either particularly dishonest or menacingly violent or even both in certain cases. While there are interesting things to discover about each character, it feels unrealistic, pessimistic and exaggerated how negative each main character behaves in this film. This might add to the movie's overall sinister mood that suits the genre but it also feels too simplistic and partial.

    Another weakness is that despite its numerous changes of time, space and perspective, many parts of the movie are repetitive and predictable. The middle part of the film is particularly slow-paced. In the beginning, it's still intriguing to see the helpless alcoholic divorcée having a breakdown or the fragile nanny having a meltdown when confronted with her emotions but when these things are happening for the third or fourth time, these scenes lose their initial efficiency despite great acting performances by Emily Blunt and Haley Bennett. 

    In the end, what kept me watching this movie until the end are its sinister mood and the great performances by Emily Blunt and Haley Bennett. The below average plot and repetitive storytelling patterns are the downsides of this film. My recommendation would be to read the critically acclaimed novel of the same name instead of watching this slightly above average film.

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