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Girl on the Train, The


Stars: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez, Allison Janney, Lisa Kudrow, Laura Prepon

Director: Tate Taylor

Top-drawer acting, a thin, timeline-jumping plot and some dodgy dialogue are the main ingredients in this film version of Paula Hawkins' worldwide best-seller.

Rachel (Blunt), an alcoholic in her early thirties, still obsessed with her ex, Tom (Theroux), travels to New York each day, fantasising about the people she sees from the train and the lives they might lead.

She spots a couple, Megan (Bennett) and Scott (Evans), whom she comes to regard as the ideal - until the morning she sees Megan in an embrace with another man on the veranda of her house.

Coincidentally, the couple lives a few doors away from where Rachel lived with Tom - who now berates her for harassing him, his wife Anna (Ferguson) and their baby with phone calls.

One evening Rachel, drunk as usual, gets off at her former station and weaves a mazy way towards her old home. Spotting a woman she thinks is Anna, she staggers down towards a road tunnel - and remembers little more. Next day, Megan is reported missing, and is later found dead - with her husband the chief suspect. But, under questioning from the detective (Janney) handling the case, Rachel, who has joined AA, cannot remember anything from blacking out in the tunnel to getting home hours later with blood on her clothes.

Revelations come so thick and fast at the end of the story that it's difficult to keep up, but, whereas the book dragged for me after the first 150 pages or so, director Taylor does keep the film version, which sticks fairly closely to the book, going pretty well throughout.

Given the melodramatic nature of the narrative, there are excellent performances from Blunt, Bennett and Ferguson, the first two especially, with solid gold supporting portrayals by Janney and by Kudrow as the society wife of Tom's ex-boss.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: entertainmentOne (Dreamworks). Technicolor.
112 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 03 Oct 2016