Emily Blunt comes prepared to deliver a prestigious performance, while the rest of the film derails halfway through due to a muddled direction and narrative.
Based on the psychological thriller by British author Paula Hawkins, Girl on the Train has been praised as the “Next Gone Girl.” Unfortunately, for the film that doesn’t seem to add up. Leaving the book aside, director Tate Taylor (The Help and Get on Up) doesn’t do the film any justice as he lurks into dull flashbacks and exploitative melodrama. The one aspect the film did succeed from was Emily Blunt’s outstanding performance as Rachel Watson.
Rachel, an alcoholic and a recent divorcé, spends her daily commute fantasizing about a perfect couple living in a house that her train passes every day. Until Rachel sees something out of the ordinary and from there a mystery unfolds. With not spoiling too much of the plot, Girl on the Train tries to carefully unveil it’s scandal of entanglements slowly throughout the film. What may have been the book’s silver lining is instead the film’s Achilles heel because director Tate Taylor fails to cohesively bring together the books mysteries as a whole.
Taylor’s envision for the film comes out scatterbrained, leaving actors Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Allison Janney, Lisa Kudrow, Luke Evans and Edgar Ramirez in a rut. There were, however, moments that did grab your attention all thanks to Blunt’s impeccable performance. In the end, Girl on the Train comes and goes leaving viewers stranded on the tracks. The film is Gone Girl without the thrill, but Blunt was still able to shine through all of the narrative whoopla. Nevertheless, the film’s premise intrigued me enough to want to read the best-selling book on a cold fall day.
Girl on the Train is rated R (Restricted). For violence, sexual content, language and nudity.
Backed by a tremendous performance from actor Tom Hanks and the steady hands of director Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven and American Sniper); Sully is a moving tribute to an everyday hero on that cold January day.
Is there anything that Mr. Hanks can’t make great in Hollywood? He’s the male form of Meryl Streep, as he incarnates every one of his performances like clockwork. From Sam Baldwin to Forest Gump to Captain John H. Miller to Michael Sullivan, Sr. to Charlie Wilson to Captain Richard Phillips to Walt Disney and now to Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger. Hanks is an exceptional actor who has matured overtime. His performances can be raw and nerve-racking, to calm and sweet.
In his newest incarnation, Hanks plays Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger a pilot who successfully executed an emergency water landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009. After roughly 100 seconds in the air from New York City's LaGuardia Airport, Canadian geese strike the plane taking out both engines. Sully soon realizes that there isn’t enough time to reach another airport for an emergency landing. Sully makes the executive decision to land the plane in the Hudson River. There were 208 seconds from when the US Airways Flight 1549 jet sucked geese into its engines at 2,818 feet above LaGuardia to the moment when Sully brought the craft down onto the Hudson. News media’s flooded the scenes, calling it “Miracle on the Hudson.”
“I’ve delivered a million passengers over forty years, but in the end I’m going to be judged by two hundred and eight seconds.” The movie, however, is an hour and 36 minutes long. This is where director Eastwood’s keen eye and visionary detail comes into place. Eastwood weaves Sully’s story from past to present and back throughout the entire film. We begin the film with Sully waking up from a nightmare in his hotel room the day after the emergency landing. In this dream Sully is imagining himself fatally crashing the plane into a building in Manhattan. Waking up from this nightmare, Sully has to piece together the events of what took place the day before. Hanks’ skill has an actor come full circle here in his ability to fully engulf the audience with Sully’s pain that he is feeling.
From there, it’s a battle between Sully along with his co-pilot Jeff Skiles (a wonderful Aaron Eckhart) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Throughout the film Eastwood weaves the flight back into play, giving the audience pieces of the emergency water landing until we see the whole picture. Sully is more than your average story of an everyday hero who just so happens to save 155 souls on board. It’s about the battle fighting within Sully as he sheds shelf-doubt and fear inside a man who never really defined himself has a hero. Digging deep with your inner emotions, Sully is a soaring tribute to the crew and passengers of US Airways Flight 1549.
“No one warned us. No one said you were going to lose both engines at a lower altitude than any jet in history. This was dual engine loss at twenty-eight hundred feet followed by an immediate water landing with one hundred and fifty-five souls onboard. No one has ever trained for an incident like that.” Sully is superlative work from its star and director, giving the audience a comforting reward at a night at the movies.
Sully is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned). For some peril and brief strong language.