REVIEW: Lackluster Mystery, Dull Acting Sends ‘Girl On The Train’ Off The Rails

A complex murder mystery unravels in “The Girl on the Train,” a movie that starts off with a scene based on the title.

Emily Blunt plays a divorcee named Rachel, a woman struggling with alcoholism who rides a train through New York state on a daily basis in a sort of daze. On a day-to-day basis, Rachel passes by the home she used to share with her husband and reminisces while also watching another couple, Megan (Haley Bennett) and Scott (Luke Evans) with envy.

On one day in particular, Rachel happens to see something after getting off at a train stop, but because of her drunken state, she has trouble remembering.

For being a movie with betrayals, scandals and even a murder mystery, “The Girl on the Train,” seemed to be stuck in neutral, from start to finish. The pacing in the film is simply slow, moving along at a snail’s pace with no sense of urgency. At points, the movie even seems lifeless, with hardly any energy. Some of the more scandalous moments, for example, feature almost zero passion.

That’s not to say that a slow-burning suspense picture can’t work. Over the last few years there have been some real gems such as “Prisoners” and “Gone Girl.” “The Girl on the Train,” though, lacks the intensity and fervor that those other flicks had. Even when the mystery is solved and the climax occurs, this movie seems to go out on a forgettable whimper.

This is partly caused by the script, which has dialogue ranging from generic melodrama to being downright inorganic. Even worse, the characters are written as rather shallow in many of the scenes and only the lead character gets to have any real depth. While it’s expected that the main character would have the most development, the movie makes a point to introduce two other women and the film doesn’t explore them enough.

The movie does get a saving grace in its lead actress, though. Blunt is easily the best part of “The Girl on the Train,” perfectly displaying her character’s alcoholism, depression and obsessive nature when it comes to her ex-husband.

Unfortunately, the rest of the cast was rather lackluster. Both Bennett and Rebecca Ferguson, who played the ex-husband’s new wife, give performances that feel awkward and unconvincing, taking a person out of the picture.

“The Girl on the Train” moves to slow, isn’t particularly well structured and features some unmemorable acting. At most, “Girl on the Train” is possibly worth a watch on home video because of Blunt’s performance and some interesting ‘who done it’ moments, but for the most part, this can be skipped. Low 2 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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