Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

WE all love a good thriller and director Tate Taylor will be hoping for another hit

WE all love a good thriller and director Tate Taylor will be hoping for another hit before Oscar season hots up with The Girl on the Train.

A strange and potentially risky choice, though, for the man who oversaw the hugely successful and Oscar nominated The Help in 2011.

Paula Hawkins’s bestselling novel was only published at the beginning of last year and will be fresh in fans’ and critics’ minds alike.

The big challenge here will be how Taylor interprets the story, if he can make it his own, and if he manages to pull off a spectacular and nail-biting ending known to thousands if not millions of readers already.

In the big-screen version of the novel the action has moved from London to New York. Alcoholic Rachel (Emily Blunt), who is devastated by her recent divorce, spends her daily commute fantasising about the seemingly perfect couple, Scott and Megan Hipwell, who live in a house that her train passes every day.

Until one morning she sees something shocking happen there and becomes entangled in the mystery that unfolds. She wakes up covered in blood and with no memory of why. When it is reported that a local woman has gone missing, Rachel becomes obsessed with finding out what has happened to her and, more troublingly, where she was herself that night.

Golden Globe-winning actress Blunt’s transformative ability and versatile performances make her one of the most in-demand actresses of today. She rose to international prominence with her outstanding performances in films such as My Summer of Love and The Devil Wears Prada.

More recently, her turn in Sicario, which also starred Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin and centred on the escalating war on drugs, won her critical acclaim.

Blunt is supported in her latest outing by Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Allison Janney, Edgar Ramirez, Lisa Kudrow and Laura Prepon.

This is a film that, quite frankly, will either sink or swim. It’s likely to attract audiences who may not have the time or inclination to digest Hawkins’s book and would rather have the story in just under two hours. More importantly, though, they will not know the ending.

Those who have read the book will fall into two categories — the ones who wish to see Taylor’s take on it and those who simply pass, having already enjoyed the story in its printed format. Time will tell.

The film is now showing at Henley’s Regal Picturehouse.

Review: David White

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