By Katherine Tavarez
A quote from the artist Tupac reads, “Real eyes, realize, real lies.” This quote applies to the film, “The Girl on the Train” because the vision of the truth can, and will always recognize the sight of deception. This makes a perfect story for a filmmaker, which is why “The Girl on the Train” has now been adapted from book to film. Although, there are discrepancies between what occurred in the book and the film, the movie still managed to be a success.
In “The Girl on the Train,” divorced alcoholic Rachel (Emily Blunt), rides the train to New York every day and develops an unnatural obsession with a married couple who live in a house she travels past every day. When the wife suddenly disappears, she integrates herself into the investigation by posing as the missing woman’s friend.
The film does an amazing job at showing us the depth of Rachel’s alcoholism. In the beginning, viewers will find themselves confused as to why Rachel is having blackouts and what is actually causing them. Although her blackouts are used as a plot device, they serve the mystery by positioning her as an unreliable narrator. While confusing, it is still a thrilling aspect of the film. It makes you unwind different theories as to what could have caused her to blackout, or if what she is seeing during her “remembering stage” actually occurred.
Throughout the film, Rachel is a watchdog. She watches the couple and her ex-husband almost like an undercover investigator. The train commute she makes every day in the film is to New York, as opposed to the book where she commutes to London. With this commute, she is avoiding questions as to why she doesn’t have a job. The film makes viewers believe she does have a job in the beginning but she is never shown working. This is part of a presence she maintains to hide the fact that she lost her job and is just obsessed.
The director, Tate Taylor, uses methods such as shallow focus, voiceovers, and slow motion scenes to show psychological states, which help make the movie feel nightmarish. While the movie may seem familiar to 2014’s “Gone Girl,” directed by David Fincher, Taylor has a different style than Fincher’s that he uses to lift the film above a “Gone Girl” imitation.
Blunt’s performance in the movie is amazing as the film does a great job of showing how women self-destruct in the real world. Her “questionable” moments as she wakes up from blackouts to her attempts to act sober and unthreatening as people around her make her feel little are perfectly pieced. Towards the end of the movie, long after her traveling has come to an end, we finally come to realize what is actually occurring and how the world she lives in was a complete lie. The film includes plenty of symbols, like the train, and how observing a life through windows and actually confronting what you see are completely different things.
“The Girl on the Train” is now playing in theaters.