By RENEE SUMMERS, A&E Editor
Director Tate Taylor’s October 2016 release, The Girl on the Train takes the viewer on a maze filled with twists and turns, ultimately leading the viewer to ask, “What would have happened if . . . ?” The film was released last month on DVD and is based on the bestselling Paula Hawkins novel of the same name. Director Taylor and screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson together conjure up a moody drama which eventually becomes a murder mystery. The use of subdued colors and bleak lighting by the filmmakers contribute to an aura of suspense.
As the film opens, we see Rachel, a depressed alcoholic divorcee, played by Emily Blunt, who spends her days riding the train into New York City and back home again. She is unemployed due to her problem drinking, which is an undeniable thread running throughout the story. The train goes right past her former home, now occupied by her ex-husband, Tom, played by Justin Theroux, and his new wife, Anna, played by Rebecca Ferguson, and their infant daughter. Rachel can’t seem to help herself as she gazes daily on what once was her home, now occupied by another woman. She drinks to try to forget and frequently blacks out, unable to remember the events of the previous night.
Soon, Rachel fixates on a young couple named Scott and Megan who are neighbors to her former spouse. She watches the young couple, played by Luke Evans and Haley Bennett, in their backyard from her seat on the passing train. She watches as they embrace and kiss on the balcony off the back of their home. Obsessed, Rachel declares to herself that they are a perfect couple and seems to derive some sort of hope watching them.
And on it goes, day after day until one day, Rachel sees what appears to be Megan kissing a man who is not Scott on the balcony. This apparent act of unfaithfulness from a woman she does not even know drives Rachel into a rage. The fact that Tom had cheated on her with Anna drives Rachel to insert herself into circumstances when Megan turns up missing. It is at this point in the story that Rachel’s blackouts begin to add to the suspense. The viewer is unsure which direction the story will go.
The actions of the characters as they interact with one another and the way in which the three main female characters discover they are connected keeps the viewer intrigued. All the characters in this tale possess obvious strengths and weaknesses, as Tate, who also directed 2011’s hugely successful The Help, knows a thing or two about filling out his characters.
The talented cast is completed by actor Edgar Ramirez and actresses Allison Janney, Laura Prepon and Lisa Kudrow. If you are craving something suspenseful to pop into your DVD player this weekend, The Girl on the Train is sure to satisfy.