The Girl on the Train 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN might be the most surprising movie of 2016, based on how surprised I am at how bad it is. Not only is this a film we’ve seen before, THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN is void of suspense or intrigue and as talented as Emily Blunt is, watching her stagger around in a drunken stupor for two hours is not my idea of a good time. I have not read the book this is based on, but I can only assume author Paula Hawkins did a better job telling this story in book form than director Tate Taylor did telling it on film.
Rachel (Blunt) is a raging alcoholic that frequently blacks out and forgets long stretches of time. After one such episode, she wakes up the next morning with blood on her face and hands, completely unaware of how she got that way. She begins to piece things together and fears she may have murdered Megan (Bennett), a beautiful, young woman she became obsessed with while riding the train to and from the city. Megan lives two houses down from Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), who is married to Rachel’s ex-husband, Tom (Theroux), who Rachel is still obsessed with.
Everything in the film as far as mystery or intensity is a byproduct of Rachel being an alcoholic. If you know anyone or have lived with anyone that is an alcoholic, then you’ll feel right at home here watching Rachel stumble through the entire film. There is no point in the film where we know for sure Rachel is sober because Blunt acts the same whether she’s supposed to be drunk or not, so I assumed Rachel never really stopped drinking through the duration of the movie. There are some “twists” that come up later on that attempt to sort-of justify her drinking, but the justification is irrelevant; she’s a drunk and her alcoholism is the single plot driving device. If she were sober, there would be no movie.
THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN is a very, very simple murder mystery told through the eyes of an alcoholic. The direction attempts to create mystery and tension that doesn’t exist. The big reveal at the end is obvious very early in the film and when it’s finally unveiled, the audience has lost interest. As for the characters, most of them are set up to be suspects (even Rachel), so the audience can’t really get attached to anyone. Each character is so unlikable in fact that I found myself wishing we were tracking a serial killer rather than a one-off murderer.
I really like Emily Blunt and find that she makes everything she’s in better, so I was excited for her to land the coveted lead role in THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN. But I ended up being surprised by how much I didn’t like this. Everyone did fine with what they had, including Blunt, but the story couldn’t match their effort. I don’t know if it was the source material or if screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson bumbled the adaptation, but THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN missed by a wide margin.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: After THE ACCOUNTANT and JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK, I’m on a bit of roll here with movies shot on film and upscaled for 4K. I could cut and paste the video review for either of those titles here and they’d be appropriate. The gist is that the 4K UHD is only nominally better than its Blu-ray counterpart. You’ll see some slight upticks in detail, specifically on clothing and other fabrics, but there’s nothing here that will jump out at you or wow you with what the new format can do.
Audio: The DTS track from the Blu-ray is included here.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
There are no 4K exclusive features included on the 4K disc, but it does include a copy of the Blu-ray, which includes the following special features:
Commentary with Tate Taylor: Taylor does a decent job, but he needed someone with him to keep everything going. He talks about the technical details on the film, which he clearly was involved with, but needed a counterpart to go into the more personal details about making the film.
Deleted and Extended Scenes (17:40): 14 total scenes that almost all feel more like “extended” scenes rather than “deleted” scenes. There’s not much here and all of them deserved their edits.
The Women Behind The Girl (5:05): Paula Hawkins shows up to talk about the film, the characters and various themes.
On Board The Train (11:25): This should have been continued with the previous featurette since it just continues the talk about the film.