All Aboard The Ghost Train… not.

train112017.27: The Girl On The Train (2016) 

Not exactly a bad film, or a particularly good one either. Just stuck in that awkward middle- mostly harmless I guess. To be honest, not knowing anything about either the film or the book it is based upon, I actually came into it expecting a ghost story. Too many childhood memories of being scared witless by The Ghost Train (1941) maybe- I don’t know why exactly I expected a ghost story, but there you go, one of the disadvantages of coming into a film blind sometimes.

Books to films. Is it the film’s fault if it follows too closely to the book, suffering from the same issues inherent in the original? Some books are in no way cinematic but people try to make films out of them anyway. Maybe they should follow the lead of Blade Runner and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Blade Runner took the basic ideas and core plot of the original book but went off and did its own thing as a movie. The Girl On The Train has an odd construction, layers of reveals jumping around timelines and pov, which might well work well in the book (I assume the book has that structure) but possibly just comes across as confusing in the film. Perhaps I wasn’t paying enough attention (waiting for those damned ghosties, or a reveal that the girl was the ghost of a previous murder victim or… well, I was clearly watching/imagining a different movie to what I was watching).

Emily Blunt plays a good drunk but… do actors/actresses sometimes carry over personnas from other films, albeit unintentionally, blurring the effect of their performance? Not her fault, but I don’t think she was exactly right for this part. Too beautiful? Too many prior films leaking in and affecting my perception of her in this one? Whatever, she isn’t a complete success.  Sometimes I wish there was an opportunity for more unknown actors in films, a clean slate as it were. I think the films might be more effective, more a step into the unknown for the audience.

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4 thoughts on “All Aboard The Ghost Train… not.

  1. It’s interesting the sometimes-random baggage we bring to movies. Would it have seemed a better movie if you hadn’t been waiting for ghosts, I wonder? Or just a different one, even. Is Emily Blunt not right because of other roles she’s played, or does she just lack the range for this one? Conversely, sometimes ‘wrong’ expectations about a movie can make it better; more likely to surprise us.

    Of course, this is why trailers have become so terrible at spoiling the entire film — studios want audiences to know exactly what they’re getting so that they don’t complain they were misled.

    1. God, yes, modern trailers are terrible. There was an art to them in the old days, giving subtle hints about a film whilst withholding much of the film from viewers. I guess what they call ‘teasers’ now are akin to the old trailers, while what are trailers now amount to highlight reels or those old Super 8 abridged versions that used to be sold to the public.

      Its getting to the point that I try to avoid trailers as much as possible now if its for a film I’m interested in. Unfortunately that leads to getting a few misguided impressions such as with Girl On A Train, so it doesn’t always work out for the best..

      1. Matthew McKinnon

        My wife and I close our eyes for the trailers now.

        I generally like to rest my eyes throughout the ads and trailers and hopefully drop off for a few minutes, so I don’t get sleepy later on (this is not a middle-age thing, I’ve been doing it for years!)

        Kerry more because – as you say – they spoil bloody everything.

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