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The Girl on the Train 

By : Shane J Alliew

Have you ever taken a train ride? Twice a day, from no where to no where? I have. Several of them. And each time, I pass through the town, I wonder what actually goes on in those houses that border the edge of the fields, the open grasslands, the algae covered ponds.

What kind of people live in those houses? And would they make an exhibition of their private lives, in full and complete view of hundreds of passengers who may notice the love making (almost of the edge of soft porn), or could they not care less, unless of course it were all staged to get the curiosity brewing of one darkly ebullient alcoholic, Rachael Watson (Emily Blunt).

“I used to see this perfect couple” says Rachael, as she took the train each morning and evening, sat in the same seat each day and watched the ever doting pair in one another’s arms, with and without clothes.

But why this neighbourhood? Why this row of houses? What drew in Rachael? But of course it was those haunting memories of a happily married life, till her ‘hubris’ got the better of her. Through this exercise of careful watching she slyly stole a glance at her house; the house she build with her ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux); her life, husband and home ‘stolen’, by the irresistibly beautiful estate agent and now Tom’s wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson).

Did she know the couple she saw day in and evening out? Was there some kind of connection that bound them together, is what Rachael wonders, even as she drowns in her addiction, that gets hold the better of her, each time, every time.

Through the stream of consciousness narrative, the plot is unravelled and the life of Rachael is given to us, or what she remembers of it, as told to her by her Tom. Is she the abusive woman, because of whom Tom lost his job? Or is she whom she thinks she is, the memory of the shadows that haunt her as vague as the recollections she has whenever she awakes, sober.

It seems as if a spirit in her feet draws Rachael time and again to ‘her house’, to ‘create a scene’ with Anna and each attempt of reconciliation with Tom gets her higher on the dislike scale. Tom tells Anna, “Rachael is a very lonely woman.”

But it’s not only this stark loneliness of Rachael that grips us, almost binds us to her, pitying her at in failed attempts, at support group meetings or reconciliations ploys with Tom; more so it’s her conviction of what she saw, from that seat on that train.

The woman of the perfect couple pair, Megan (Haley Bennett) goes missing and Rachael lands up on their doorsteps to meet Megan’s ultra-hunk husband Scott (Luke Evans), to tell him, “I saw your wife with another man that day.”

It’s such a pity that neither Scott nor Rachael think of going into a drunken stupor, landing in bed and adding the violent zing needed, well, this is sensible cinema and well appreciated Tate Taylor. Herein you rise above the average and give the film that sparkle of well-preserved champagne, a celebration.

Would you believe when a desperately trying to recover alcoholic would tell you, “I saw what happened that day”?

The climax is superbly drawn and I would rather rubbish claims of esteemed critics when they draw parallelism with Gone Girl, another superb thriller. Each is in a league of its own, with expected overtones.

“Please tell me what happened that day”, asks Rachael; I will leave that to you to find out. The Girl on the Train is for sure, a thumbs-up from me!

4.5/5

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