The Girl on the Train
Universal // R // $29.25 // January 17, 2017
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted February 14, 2017
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The Girl on the Train Blu-ray Review

The Girl on the Train is a thriller based upon the bestselling novel written by Paula Hawkins. The film is from executive producers Celia Costas (Doubt, Closer), Kathleen Kennedy (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Back to the Future, The Sixth Sense), Frank Marshall (Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark), and Steven Spielberg (Schindler's List, Jaws, E.T., Jurassic Park).

The story focuses upon the interweaving lives of three damaged women going through personal struggles: Rachel (Emily Blunt), Megan (Haley Bennett), and Anna (Rebecca Ferguson). Rachel takes the train in New York on a daily basis (despite no longer having a job) and is struggling to recover from the divorce of her ex-husband after he had an affair. She struggles with alcoholism (and often drinks on her long train rides) while she fantasizes about the "perfect couple" she sees from a distance on her train rides each day.

The girl Rachel ponders over living a perfect life while taking her commutes is Megan, who is dealing with intense feelings of isolation and of being alone in the world. The perfect image in Rachel's head isn't so perfect after all. Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), who is now in a relationship with Rachel's ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux), struggles with raising her child and maintaining her relationship.

Megan has gone missing. What happened to her? Detective Riley (Allison Janney) looks into the matter as she attempts to find out what happened to the missing woman. Megan's story becomes much more complex. She had another relationship with a man named Scott (Luke Evans) as well as a complicated doctor-patient relationship with Dr. Kamal Abdic (Edgar Ramirez). Did one of them murder her? Can the mystery behind her disappearance be solved? Or, perhaps, could there be more to the story of "the girl on the train"?

All three of these women are the central point of the story in The Girl on the Train: the beating heart of the narrative. It's entirely a story about their struggles and about their interconnected lives. As such, the film relied heavily upon the performances by the leading actresses. Blunt impresses particularly with a dark, emotionally complex performance. Ferguson also gives a noteworthy supporting performance.

The music score for the film is composed by Danny Elfman (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Batman, Big Fish). Elfman gives the film a dark, brooding atmosphere with his music. It's an impressively crafted  score well suited for this thriller.

The Girl on the Train is well-produced and benefits from the exemplary creative team working behind the scenes. The production design crafted by Kevin Thompson (Birdman, Stranger than Fiction) contributes to the excellent qualities of this production. The art direction by Deborah Jensen (No Country for Old Men, Lord of War) offers a stylish accent. The cinematography by Charlotte Bruus Christensen (Fences, The Hunt) is impressively filmed and delivers a dark and brooding atmosphere. Costume designs by collaborators Michelle Matland and Ann Roth (Signs, The Village) are effective for the characters.

The screenplay was written by Erin Cressida Wilson (Chloe, Men, Women, and Children). Wilson adapts the bestselling novel into a modern cinematic thriller that will keep audiences guessing throughout. The film excels as a mystery and it is one with some modest entertainment.

Directed by Tate Taylor (The Help, Get On Up), Taylor has given the film a emotional backbone focused on the characterizations. The focus is on the actors and on their performances. This is an approach which helps the film stand out from the pack as an above-average thriller. While The Girl on the Train might not be a perfect film, its one with a number of standout performances, strong production values, and an intriguing mystery which makes it well worth seeing.

The Blu-ray:


Video:

The Girl on the Train arrives on Blu-ray with a technically impressive 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded presentation. The film is presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen. This is a worthwhile high definition presentation which displays excellent color reproduction, clarity, and detail. The cinematography by Charlotte Bruus Christensen is well presented and looks crisp and clean.

Please Note: This combo pack release also includes a 4K Ultra HD disc (which features High Dynamic Range for deeper, richer, and more life-like colors). It is a 4K + Blu-ray + Digital combo pack.

Audio:                                                                                                                                    

The audio on this release is presented in DTS: X / DTS-HD Master Audio. The audio is crisp, clean, and highly detailed. Though the film has a somewhat reserved soundstage (and it isn't one of the more immersive surround sound presentations around) the clarity present is superb and gives the presentation some extra oomph. Overall fidelity is excellent and the richness of the audio will satisfy enthusiasts.

Subtitles are provided in English SDH (for the deaf and hard of hearing), Spanish, and French.


Please Note: This is a Region Free Blu-ray release.

Extras:

Audio Commentary featuring Director Tate Taylor

Deleted and Extended Sequences (18 min., HD) features several scenes cut or edited down for the final cut of the film.

The Women Behind the Girl (5 min., HD) features interviews with cast and crew about the production of the film. Author Paula Hawkins discusses the transition for the film. Director Taylor discusses his approach to the material. Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, and others discuss their involvement with the project.

On Board the Train (11 min., HD) offers behind-the-scenes making of material with the cast and crew including screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson and producers involved on the project. The storytelling process is discussed as well as various aspects of the production.

Final Thoughts:

The Girl on the Train is an intriguing and entertaining thriller featuring excellent performances by Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, and Rebecca Ferguson. The supporting cast are strong as well. This is a well-made and engaging thriller with some surprises in store (at least for those who haven't read the novel). Director Tate Taylor (The Help) has crafted a sleek, well-produced adaptation of the bestselling novel.

The Blu-ray release features strong video/audio and a small but insightful selection of extras.

Recommended.



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