- Actors: Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux
- Director: Tate Taylor
- Disc Format: 4K
- Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Portuguese (DTS 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
- Subtitles: Portuguese, French, Spanish, English
- Region: All Regions
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Rated: R
- Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
- Release Date: January 17, 2017
- Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2018
- Run Time: 112 minutes
Considering the Paula Hawkins’ book that inspired this film was such a success, debuting at the top of the New York Times best sellers list and remaining there for fifteen weeks, I must assume that a great deal was lost in translation with this film adaptation. Much of the film feels entirely too derivative to inspire any real suspense, borrowing liberally from Gone Girl narratively while copying a number of cinematic elements from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic films. And even with a series of red herrings and a convoluted timeline, jumping back and forth while switching character perspective more than necessary, the final answer to the mystery is fairly obvious. Worse yet, the characters are never sympathetic enough for the audience to truly care about the resolution, regardless of how clever the film tries to be.
The Girl on the Train focuses on a trio of flawed women as its protagonists, matched by three men who are either unredeemable or simply two-dimensional. Rachel (Emily Blunt) is the first character given the responsibility of being a narrator, as a recently divorced alcoholic whose daily commute on the train has her passing by a seemingly idyllic home inhabited by a picturesque couple, Megan (Haley Bennett) and Scott (Luke Evans). In reality, Megan is an extremely unhappy young woman, trapped by her suburban existence while hiding secrets from her own past, only revealing them to her conveniently handsome psychiatrist (Édgar Ramírez). When Rachel’s obsession with the couple she does not know results in her witnessing Megan in a moment of apparent infidelity, it initiates an impromptu gin-soaked investigation. The only problem is that her heavy drinking ends up preventing her from remembering what she has discovered.
Bloodied from some unknown confrontation, Rachel wakes to discover that Megan has gone missing, unaware of her own connection in the case. This is further complicated by the fact that Megan also coincidentally worked as a nanny for Rachel’s ex-husband (Justin Theroux) and his new wife, Anna (Rebecca Ferguson). Anna is the third point-of-view in the film, convinced that Rachel is the true villain behind the mystery. At a certain point it is clear there are too many perspectives in this narrative, which is not engaging enough to warrant the splintering. There may be many pieces to this puzzle, but the final image is not worth the effort it took to assemble.
The Girl on the Train is not only being released on DVD and Blu-ray, there is also a 4K Ultra HD release, which comes with Blu-ray and Digital HD copies included. Some films demand higher definition than others, but I would put The Girl on the Train low down on this list. While it is well shot, there just isn’t enough dynamic material to warrant the extra resolution. Even when the suspense turns to action, it is fairly unexciting, especially when compared to nearly identical sequences in David Fincher’s narratively similar Gone Girl.
The special features are included on the Blu-ray disc, leaving only the 4K HDR presentation of the film on the upgraded disc. The extras include over 17-minutes of deleted/extended scenes, two featurettes, and a commentary track from director Tate Taylor (The Help). The two featurettes may as well just be one, presumably split up to pad the special features. “The Women Behind The Girl” features interviews with Hawkins about the narrative, casting, and making comparisons about the male and female characters, while the longer featurette, “On Board The Train,” is just a continuation of that discussion about the characters and the film’s locations.
Entertainment Value: 6.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10
Historical Significance: 6/10
Special Features: 6.5/10