Gone Girl on the Train

Skippy and Beagle met in a dusty Film Studies tute (because who goes to Film lectures?) back in 2014. The amount of times the pair have agreed on a film is about the same amount of times as you’ve started studying for your final exams before the fluff comes. Now, at the end of their degrees, they have realised that writing a Woroni column is the most use they will get out of their Minor, so they figure they might as well get their money’s worth.

bandsBased on Paula Hawkins best-seller, the Girl on the Train follows the story of an alcoholic girl, Emily Blunt, on a train, as she attempts to piece her memories together, on a train, to explain the mysterious disappearance of another girl she sees from the train.

B: Alright, before we get started I just wanted to say the trailer did such a good job of not giving anything away, so we’re gonna go to extra lengths to keep this thing spoiler free for y’all.

S: On the topic of the trailer, I’m also going to give it a big thumbs-up for being incredibly enticing. Drama. Sex.  Kanye. All the makings of a good flick. And surprisingly, it lived up to my expectations.  

B: First things first, even from the trailer, I think most viewers would get a vibe that this movie is riding off the back of Gone Girl. Do you think that’s fair?

S: Yes, it is a psychological thriller focused on women, but I just don’t like the comparison to Gone Girl. It is unfair to stereotype these films. You wouldn’t compare Se7en and Mystic River just because they both revolve around men.  

B: True, but I think it’s more than that. Both films are based off books about seemingly perfect domestic houses that had a dark side. Both films were shot in slick blue, grey and green colours. Both films fed the audience information in a slow drip to keep us frantically thirsty for more. Would this film have been made if Gone Girl flopped?

S: Look, you’re probably right. Part of the allure of this film was its Gone Girl aesthetic, and I doubt director Tate Taylor would’ve given this similar style film a go if Gone Girl had flopped. But A Girl on the Train is different, and in a good way. It is less glamorous, less jumpy, and perhaps, more chillingly realistic.  

B: One thing the films do share that I love is an unreliable narrator. This is part of what makes films like Fight Club and The Usual Suspects so enticing and re-watchable. A Girl on the Train is slightly different, as we are told pretty quickly that the protagonist is an alcoholic with memory issues, but the theme doesn’t run dry there. Maybe I’m too much of a sucker for it, considering that it’s a bit of a psychological thriller trope, but it’s such a clever and fun way to tell a story!

S: No I definitely agree with you. Memory and storytelling is so important in this movie, and I think what keeps you engaged is having the truth change on you so much. I also thought it was so interesting that we, as members of the audience, were placed in the shoes of the protagonist, Rachel (Blunt), as voyeurs to the action just like she was, watching from the train. It certainly makes for an interesting perspective.  

B: What did you think of the performances?

S: Yeah, very strong all round!! My only issue was with Blunt’s portrayal of severe ‘alcoholism’. Perhaps this was a fault of the costuming department, because to me she still seemed incredibly put together and well-dressed. Chucking on some blotchy skin effects, weepy eyes, smeared eyeliner and chapped lips just didn’t sell it for me. She needed to look more dishevelled. Perhaps a hard task considering she is just so naturally stunning.  

B: Would we say she’s stunning? To be honest, I don’t love Emily Blunt. She was the worst part of Sicario, which was an otherwise awesome movie and I hold that against her. I thought the cast all did ‘dark and brooding’ very well. The only zest on the plate of emotions was the trusty Allison Janney, who plays ‘the investigating detective who can cut through the crap like your brand new shoes’. Not that I’m saying we needed more varied emotions from the characters in the film, it is a ‘dark and broody’ story after all. Just don’t hold your breath for any comedic relief at the 55-minute mark.

S: ALSO on a side note, for a lot of the movie, I spent time wondering where I knew Haley Bennett from, who plays Megan – the ‘gone-girl’ in this non-gone-girl flick. After a quick IMDB search, I realised why I must have really connected to her… she made her acting debut as ‘Cora’ in the all-time 2007 classic, Music and Lyrics, alongside one of my other favs, Hugh Grant!!! (In case you didn’t get the message in the last column, I froth Hugh Grant).

B: Shut up. Look, this was actually a really good movie. Before I rate it I want to say that this rating is going to either go up or down after I watch this film again. If A Girl on the Train can excite me the second time round I’ll give it a 4, otherwise it will sit on a well-deserved 3.5 Beagles. Thank you for making me see it.

S: Yeah, ya dickhead! :)))))) 4 Skippy’s out of 5.