The Book or The Movie? The Girl On the Train


The Book


A runaway hit of 2015, I read this book in the beginning of this year, and frankly, didn’t think much of it. I feel that the charm of any mystery/thriller book is that it should keep you guessing till the very end, and sadly, this book does not fulfil that requirement.

It begins interestingly, especially in establishing the lead character of the book- Rachel Watson. I was sympathetically drawn into the sad, lonely, and utterly down and out life of Rachel, who seemed very raw and real to me. However, as the story progressed, I felt that the author spent so much time in establishing her state of being, that the other two characters of her fancy did not get as much attention. As a result, at times, I got confused between the story lines of Megan and Anna and I didn’t see any dimension in their characters. The supporting men in the book also fit into the conventional moulds, and there wasn’t much to consider for them either.

As for the pace, it could have been more compact; there were too many instances of people badgering Rachel’s character, which wasn’t required. The plot seemed to be pointlessly droning on with no new elements added to the story. However, despite these shortcomings, the most disappointing of them all was to uncover, with absolute certainty, the identity Megan’s killer many chapters ahead of the ending. This did for me. I skipped the unnecessary spiel and went straight for the final chapter, and lo and behold, I wasn’t surprised at all.

According to me, the book did not live up to the hype it got.

The Movie

I wish I had gone straight for the movie rather than the book, because it was better. Directed by Tate Taylor, known for the Oscar nominated The Help, and starring Emily Blunt in the lead role, the movie held more promise. Although, I knew exactly how the story would flow, Taylor brings his own take in the script, particularly, by infusing more depth into the main characters.

Blunt gives a satisfactory performance, she is able to bring to life the misery of Rachel’s character and is able to invoke sympathy and compassion for her. Special mention to Haley Bennett, who plays Megan in the movie, for portraying the sexy, mysterious, troubled character with much more nuance than what was accorded in the book.  Luke Evans and Edgar Ramirez, as Scott and Dr. Kamal respectively, were attractive props. However, I felt that Justin Theroux as Tom, was a miscast. I have not seen his work before, but I felt he showed too much intensity, almost bordering on being comical than what was required. Luke Evans would have been a better choice.

The pace is slow but steady, the director takes his time to set the stage and introduce us to the world of these characters. It’s sufficiently done, however, the ending was a stretch. The moment when you expect things to progress rapidly to conclusion after the big reveal, the movie takes its own sweet time to get there and this might frustrate some people.

There’s nothing special about the movie. It’s no Gone Girl. It’s just an average watch for one of those slow boring days.

Who Wins?

The movie, if you have heard a lot about the book and what to know want it’s about. Otherwise, both are a miss.

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