" He’s in a gunfight right now, I’m gonna have to take a message "
Under Siege

MRQE Top Critic

Noi Albinoi

Mystery and ambivalence about this Bleak portrait of isolation are amplified on DVD —Marty Mapes (DVD review...)

Noi the Albino spends winter in Iceland alone

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Watching The Girl on the Train is murder.

The Disoriented Express

A grown woman stares out a train window
A grown woman stares out a train window

Here’s my story, Officer, and I’m stickin’ to it.

But please understand: I’m having a hard time reconciling what I just witnessed.

Emily Blunt’s a terrific actress. She’s done some great stuff. Edge of Tomorrow might well be my favorite Blunt. And she was also in that movie... Uh... The Devil Wears J.C. Penney... ?... No... No... I mean, The Devil Wears Prada.

Sorry, Officer. I’m so aggravated and annoyed by what I just saw, I can’t even think straight right now.

Anyway, Blunt’s working mighty, mighty hard to make this strange, silly story work. She... she’s Rachel, a drunk divorcee sponging off her sister in upstate New York. Every weekday she’s takin’ the Metro North into Grand Central. Every stinkin’ day she’s fantasizing about the lives she observes through the train window. They all seem so happy — and erotic.

Actually, she’s fantasizing about her former neighbors. Two doors down from Megan, the hottie sunning herself in her underwear on the patio deck, is her old house — the one she shared with her ex-husband, Tom, who’s now sharing it with his new wife, Anna. She’s the one he cheated with while married to Rachel.

Anna says she misses being “the other woman.” Well, sweetie, turns out you are. Happy day for you, eh?

Housewives of New York

So, anyway, Officer, there was a murder. Megan. Killed. But whodunit? Was it Rachel? Everyone seems to think so, especially you coppers.

I’m sorry. Don’t take issue with my ‘tude. But, instead of bothering with solving the murder, I was preoccupied with trying to figure out a much deeper, darker mystery: why should I care about any of these upper-middle class sad sacks? This is a collection of unsympathetic characters living in suburbia and leading overwhelmingly miserable lives while popping out babies in environments seemingly devoid of familial love.

They ain’t my people.

Oh. And Megan was pregnant, too. Who done that? Was it her allegedly abusive husband? Was it the therapist? Chances are mighty good that’s one thing Rachel didn’t do. And it wasn’t her first baby, but... good gravy... never mind that subplot.

C’mon, now. Let’s be honest with ourselves here. What we’re lookin’ at is not a thriller, it’s a... it’s a “girler.” Again, I mean no offense, Officer, but this is some kind of postpartum mystery in which some of the most nightmarish scenes involve a crying baby.

Train to Mudville

It’s a shame. It’s a uniformly excellent cast — in other movies. Here, each and every one displays the passion and emotional intelligence of a zombie, going through the motions of lives without zest. In fact, a better title for this might well be Zombies on a Train.

Tate Taylor. Yeah. He’s the guy who directed this thing. What in the Sam Hill is the guy who directed The Help doin’ directing this? Who does he think he is? Ang Lee?

Comparisons to Gone Girl are aplenty. And they’re warranted, to the extent both are clumsy thrillers based on novels by female authors. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t matter if the author’s male or female. Bad is bad.

It doesn’t really help matters when Rachel tacks on a message of girl power: “Anything is possible because I’m not the girl I used to be,” she said to me. Instead of sitting on the train looking backward, she now sits looking forward.

Sweet.

Whatever, Toots.

Turning of the (Cork)screw

This chick, Rachel, takes “if you see something, say something” in a new direction. She witnesses a kiss. It turns out to be the kiss of death by virtue of her subsequent actions. Rachel, in her perpetual drunken stupor, seems to make quite a mess of other people’s lives while sending her own life into an ever-deeper, ever-darker hole.

Man. I so desperately wanted to smack Tom upside the head, but I didn’t want to get sued. What a bland loser. He’s a three-timer (at least most recently; the legend of his zipper is pretty notorious). And then there are the three ladies who love him for no truly discernible reason — aside from the fact he has a nice house. Are all women really that shallow? This piece of work is a keeper? Talk about pregnant women and the impotent men who abuse them — does that even make sense? Sounds like fodder for Jerry Springer.

Here’s another crazy thing. I was surrounded by single ladies from social clubs. Can I get a list of their names so I can create a black list? Or at least put me in a witness protection program? I’m afraid the dating scene is going to get that much darker after people hear about the girl on the train, what she saw and what she did.

Corkscrews? Yikes. Not in my house.

Well, that’s all I’ve got to say, Officer. If you see something, say something. And I’m tellin’ ya, The Girl on the Train is nothin’ to see.