You may initially be confused by the title of “The Girl on the Train” in thinking that it is “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” or perhaps “Gone Girl.” That is intentional as “The Girl on the Train” is really just an imitation of both of those projects.
Rachel (Emily Blunt) takes the train to work in New York everyday. It passes by her old house where her ex-husband, Tom (Justin Theroux), lives with his new wife, Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), and their new baby. Next to them live Megan (Haley Bennett) and her husband, Scott (Luke Evans). She sees something shocking one day and the next morning she wakes up with bruises and no memory of her previous night. And no one can find Megan.
The story is told in confusing fashion, leading the viewer not to trust Rachel. Without a firm character to latch onto emotionally, the plot is rather aimless, the audience not really caring personally about the mystery. And as the mystery is revealed, it generates a meh response for being pretty obvious and unoriginal.
The thing that keeps the film somewhat strong is Emily Blunt’s performance. She’s great in the lead role, showcasing insanity, uncertainty and shame. It’s a shame it’s pretty much wasted in this film.
The film and book it is based off really just feel as if they are trying to capitalize on the woman-mystery craze typified with “Gone Girl” and “The Girl With…” series. Crafting new stories into the genre is not in itself a poor choice, but you have to have a strong narrative to tell and “The Girl on the Train” simply doesn’t. It’s a half-baked concept with semi-decent execution.