Director: Tate Taylor
Starring: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Edgar Ramírez, Laura Prepon
A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life. (Source: IMDb)
With the novel topping bestseller lists worldwide, it seemed inevitable that a film adaptation would come along sooner or later. I in fact finished reading the book approximately 1 hour before seeing the film, so for me, it came along very quickly indeed.
One of the themes that runs throughout the book, but which was also evident in the film, is our natural tendency to be voyeuristic, and how particularly when on a train, we catch the briefest glimpses of a microcosmic world that is all too easy to become enveloped in. It gives off a modern Rear Window vibe, although not executed with anywhere near the same amount of precision.
Emily Blunt in the lead role of Rachel was fantastic; it’s hardly a flattering role, but she nailed the ambiguity required to pull off this character well. She played it very sympathetically, and whilst I think there could have been more done in terms of development, she was great with what she had to work with.
So you might notice the good section of this review is pretty short. This movie is on the whole, pretty bad. Whilst the premise is promising and Emily Blunt is great, it not only lacks the something to make it an effective thriller, it lacks everything that a thriller stands for.
Even calling it a thriller somehow seems wrong. It’s one of the least thrilling thrillers I’ve seen in a long while.
Most of the issues stem from the pacing, which at best moves at a positively glacial pace. It moves with all the gusto of a rail replacement bus service during rush hour! Whilst it’s fairly effective at keeping you guessing for a little while, the “reveals” feel incredibly laboured and by the time the “twist” comes about, it doesn’t feel earned whatsoever.
Aside from Blunt, the performances are pretty lacklustre, and the character development is pretty flimsy. The notion of seeing different parts of the story from different viewpoints should work really well, but in this, it was clunky and disjointed, making it difficult to care about the characters or situations.
I saw this movie so you don’t have to. Very disappointed by this one, as the trailer showed promise and the book was pretty good, but it’s a painfully slow watch which is only marginally better for Blunt’s performance and the initial premise which is still interesting. It feels underdeveloped and a bit meandering, lacking the purpose and drive required for an effective thriller. Give this one a miss.
Agree with everything I’ve said, or am I a totally misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Let me know in the comments below!