Adaptation Blu-ray Review

'The Girl on the Train' Blu-ray Review: Suspenseful thriller twists and turns, but doesn't derail

January 17, 2017Ben MK

Adapted from the bestselling novel by Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train stars Emily Blunt as Rachel Watson, a bitter divorcee who once lived in an idyllic house at 13 Beckett Road, which she shared with her then-husband, Tom (Justin Theroux). Now Tom lives there with his new wife, Anna (Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation's Rebecca Ferguson), and their adorable baby daughter; and all Rachel can do is drink away her misery, wallowing in self-pity and gazing helplessly out the window, as the train she rides twice a day to and from Manhattan passes it by.

Along the way, Rachel develops an obsession with the house two doors down, or rather its attractive occupants. At 15 Beckett Road, young couple Megan and Scott Hipwell (Haley Bennett and Luke Evans) appear to have everything Rachel longs for — a happy marriage, full of so much promise and potential. However, what Rachel doesn't realize is that things aren't as rosy as they appear. And when Megan goes missing one day, Rachel's obsession evolves into something much more dangerous, as she herself becomes intertwined in the mystery of Megan's disappearance.

Aside from the aforementioned five, the only other real characters in the movie are Megan's psychiatrist, Dr. Abdic (Édgar Ramírez), with whom she may or may not be having an affair, and a detective by the name of Riley (Allison Janney), who strongly suspects that Rachel is somehow involved in Megan's case, which leaves the list of suspects fairly short. Thankfully, director Tate Taylor (The Help) and writer Erin Cressida Wilson (Chloe) don't throw too many red herrings at the audience, maintaining the film's suspense with slightly more measured tactics.

Otherwise, The Girl on the Train is the kind of film that lives or dies by its performances. And with Blunt in the lead role, the movie is in good hands. For the majority of the story, Rachel's either inebriated or being put through the emotional wringer; but Blunt's portrayal of a woman struggling to uncover the truth while battling her own personal demons never wears thin. Likewise, the rest of the cast do a commendable job; and even though the material sometimes stretches the limits of plausibility, they at least keep the result from going off the rails.

Fans of the novel will be glad to hear that The Girl on the Train looks as splendid as any new release on Blu-ray should. More to the point, the 1080p image on display here is the very epitome of what any self-respecting high-definition release should look like, with deep black levels, ample fine detail (especially in all the closeups of the actors' faces) and rich color saturation (highlighting the film's color palette, which alternates between warm, autumnal hues and cold, dreary blues). Likewise the film's primarily dialogue-driven sound design and suspenseful score comes across with crystal-clarity, thanks to the inclusion of a robust DTS:X sound mix.

Universal's two-disc Blu-ray release includes an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy, a DVD and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Deleted and Extended Scenes (17:38) - Fourteen scenes ("Rachel Rides the Train," "Rachel Arrives at Grand Central," "Megan Screams as Train Passes," "Megan's Flashback," "Megan Leaves Anna's House," "Rachel Pees in the Street," "Rachel Almost Gets Hit by Taxi," "Rachel Takes Selfies," "Rachel Drinks in the Bathroom," "Anna Looks Out Her Window," "Rachel Sees Man in Suit," "Tom and Anna Discuss Moving," "Tom's Request" and "Tom Begs Anna for Forgiveness").
  • The Women Behind the Girl (5:04) - Author Paula Hawkins and Screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson talk about what was involved in adapting the novel for film, from the characters, to the themes, to the challenges.
  • On Board the Train (11:25) - The cast and the filmmakers talk about what drew them to the story, the characters and their approach to the movie.
  • Feature Commentary with Director Tate Taylor - A slow-paced track in which Taylor shares a few "tidbits of information" about the film's visual effects, the cast and their characters, the cinematography, the set design, the costume design, adapting the novel to film, the filming locales and more.

The Girl on the Train is available from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment as of January 17th, 2017. The Blu-ray features English DTS:X, English DTS Headphone:X, Spanish and French DTS 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 52 Mins.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on October 7th, 2016.

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