RogerEbert.com — The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train Movie ReviewThe book wasn’t great. It was solid trash — a juicy page turner. The movie version isn’t even that. It’s a surprisingly flat and suspense-free tale of pretty people in peril. Emily Blunt gives it her all, though, as the title character: a damaged woman on a misguided quest for redemption. My RogerEbert.com review.

Read the review here

5 Comments on “RogerEbert.com — The Girl on the Train

  1.  by  Brian O' Hanlon

    She’s an actress who has put together a string of solid acting performances in recent times – great to know there are a healthy number of talented female actors getting steady work in the industry. It’s one of the positive impacts that television industry has had, in that it can serve to recycled and shake up the system periodically, and help to re-activate and re-invent who people are perceived, and the different roles they are capable of working in.

    I’m shocked though – WTF panel, I thought I’d be able to enjoy their Bob Dylan discussion – nobel prize. What about a book club/discussion evening for WTF? We’ve missed things on TV, that were known as book programs – were popular when I was growing up in 70’s and 80’s. They’re the kind of thing that have got squashed out now – in the way that television has got. I’m lucky that I still got ‘Thirteen dot org’ and Richard Heffner, whose still keeping the show on the road. B.

  2.  by  Brian O' Hanlon

    I’d like to hear Ben’s take on ‘War and Peace’ or some such. I really would.

  3.  by  Brian O' Hanlon

    Re: Movie Review – Horror Movie – ‘The Monster’

    A new word, for y’all.

    ‘Great Aplomb’, I think was the phrase that reviewers were looking for in the WTF review.

    Apparently, In the 19th century, English speakers borrowed aplomb, meaning “composure,” from French.

    (In the 21st century, movie reviewers in the United States, may be able to borrow it from the English)

  4.  by  Brian O' Hanlon

    Re: Deep water

    This is a movie reviewed by Christy and her colleagues, back in September. It deserves at least some mention, in the whole context of movies of 2016 (especially ones that won’t make it to any awards ceremony). But were about stories, that were important to tell. Another example, of an important story (and one that happened before I had any development awareness of American political campaigns), was the movie ‘Truth’.

    But, how about this movie about the largest oil spill accident in the history of north America?

    What excellent actors, what an excellent cast?

    As director Clint Eastwood used to say – casting the small parts is what is important. One can get star actors to cast in the leading roles. This movie about an oil rig, was an example of how to do casting well, and extract value even out of those small roles on the periphery. Even the scenes of people taking phone calls, in a ‘coast guard’ call center, had drama in them – and added to the telling of the story.

    Christy, in her take on this movie, described the ‘sound design’. Nice phrase that, sound design.

    There is something that no one on the panel mentioned though. That is, how this movie about an oil rig, is better in such a multitude of ways, in telling a story about recent events, than is a movie like ‘Money Monster’, which set out to achieve that, and really didn’t.

    There is something about the movie, on a level above and beyond the oil industry and the marine environment – that is so resonant about the year 2010. 2010, is far away now in time. Many young people were young teenagers in the last decade – are coming of age. They’re finding out through movies and stories such as these, to use Christy’s term from the WTF review in September last – that ‘sh** got real’ – back then. Not only on oil rigs and in marine environments. There was the calamity in Wall Street at the time, the calamity in democracy, there was calamity on ‘main street’. To cap that all, why not add the largest natural environmental disaster in history, into the mix too?

    It’s akin to how I might watch ‘Truth’ movie with Robert Redford now, which is about an election, several ones back, when Al Gore was a contender against George W. This movie about 2010, serves a purpose for a younger generation who are now starting into their adulthood.

    It describes to people the things that can happen, when ‘sh** gets real’.

    There was a cinematic device used, with enormous skill though, that I think is worth a mention.

    What we see in the microcosm of these small number of men working in the ‘mud shack’, or the ‘drill shack’, or whatever it’s termed – is kind of like ‘the room’ in a movie – made by Sidney Lumet. Something like ’12 Angry Men’. The problem with the movie, is that they got too greedy. They had tried to pack in an ‘action thriller’ into the second half of the movie. That is, the tense and close feeling that we experienced in the beginning of the movie, was allowed to escape. We’re looking at guys who have to give their lives away, in order to climb the derrick and save all of the folk who are waiting for a life boat.

    The movie has a ‘check list’ of noble feats and medal winning actions that were carried out by ordinary people, that needed to get included. However, it begs the question though, if the movie had remained true to it’s original concept, and followed that concept through to it’s conclusion, would it have made a really classic movie. A movie, that really told us something about those times, as as mentioned, outside of marine exploration and outside of the oil industry itself. That is what was so powerful about ’12 Angry Men’, in it’s time. It resisted that urge, to spill outside of the room, and have parts of the movie leak into the courtroom proper, the street outside etc.

    We find the same problem happening a lot with movies nowadays. The movie by Jodie Foster, coincidentally began in the close quarters of a television studio too. It wasn’t able to remain true to it’s original concept either. The problem with ‘Money Monster’ though, is that it had something too crazy happening inside the ‘room’. The movie about ‘Deepwater Horizon’ too a better approach. It didn’t have some angry individual waving around a weapon, and keeping everyone hostage. Everything in ‘Deepwater Horizon’ up until the point of the disaster, was normal stuff, another day at the office. That is what it did very well, which ‘Money Monster’ did not. The point about the ‘Deepwater Horizon’, or ’12 Angry Men’, is that anyone could have found themselves in the same situation.

    Okay, there were parts of the movie about the oil rig, that leaked out into the outdoor environment, the ocean environment. If the explosions and disaster part of the movie, had not taken up the whole second half of the movie – it would have resulted in a much better movie. However, this movie, Deepwater Horizon could have been a lot worse. A lesser director, a lesser script writer, may have reduced the parts of this movie that are really worthwhile – down to an even smaller size – and instead of a better ‘half’ of this movie being excellent – only a fifth of it, or even less, may have risen to the same level of excellence, which it achieves for a significant amount of the duration.

    The problem was, the director had taken great effort, and had expended enormous skill, in order to create a narrative and educate the audience about all of the ‘moving parts’. And in the middle of the movie, it changes over to some kind of ‘Discovery Channel’ lesser grade action re-enactment about oil rigs and explosions – and we loose the thread of that story – which the director had expended so much effort and skill to create to begin with. Then, at the end, when we return to whatever that ‘thread’ there was, that we had begun with, it’s too late. We’re already taken out of the mindset, which the director had worked so hard to put us in. In the end, the director runs out of time. One is left with the question – great first half of a movie – and I’d have liked to have watched the second half too. All the best.

  5.  by  Brian O' Hanlon

    Re: Small movie about Prague

    What a wonderfully shot little movie, featuring many of the scenes of what they call the Paris of Eastern Europe, the Czech city of Prague. Anthropoid, featured a great cast of actors. It was a movie that I had been saving up. Was searching for a review by Christy or the team on it, and it appears to have slipped through the net.

    It’s worth a mention though, in the context of the above, Deepwater Horizon. What I appreciated a lot about the way that the director of Deepwater Horizon did with their film, is they gave their actors enough time and space in the movie script, to act and inhabit the characters and roles they were playing. Lesser directors can and do neglect to do this in movies. The difficult challenge, which Deepwater Horizon then faced in the second half of the movie, was how to ‘join’ itself to the different action-based part of that movie, without loosing the whole thread of what had been developed by those actors, earlier on.

    Anthropoid, whether one is into movies about Eastern European history in the 1940’s or not – it can be a hard topic to go into sometimes – it’s a little movie based in Prague, that someone discovered a way, to make a movie work, where there is a large non-action portion to it, and the ending has lots and lots of drama.

    It’s Matt, in the conversations often, who makes an observation about these ‘shaky cameras’ and things, that become like a character in the plot. The Paul Greengrass movies, where the movement of the camera, becomes a part of the movie. At the end of Anthropoid, we’re introduced to one of this hidden character that emerges at the very end – who had been there all along in the story too – and isn’t a human character, but someone it is given a voice towards the end. It’s the idea of a resistance by a society against something that threatens them, and the apparent demise of that idea – or that character – in the face of overwhelming force, towards the end of the story.

    As best as one can try to explain it in mere words, I don’t think it would have worked as a solution for a movie such as Deepwater Horizon. Because I don’t think that one of those characters was on hand, lurking around somewhere in the background of the story and the plot – that was ready to take it’s place in the ‘fore ground’, of the final scene of the movie. However, screen writers might need to consider this aspect to writing of characters, and how we can move foreground characters into the background, or visa versa. It could have been done in Deepwater Horizon, as they managed to achieve that with Anthropoid I think, had the script writer in the movie about the oil rig, and it’s workers been able to develop that ‘background character’ well enough, and early enough (as I suggested, without the audience in the theatre ever even suspecting it’s presence so much, until it stepped into front and focus at the end).

    The director of Anthropoid, Sean Ellis, a British based individual had got a credit as a producer for Daniel Craig’s movie ‘Flashbacks of a Fool’. Although Claire Forlani really stole the show in that 2008 movie picture, playing off of that brute character represented by Craig in that story. The ‘Flashbacks’ movie, was one of those with a real kick towards the ending of it too. It was enjoyable to watch back over both of the movies actually this week. It shows that there is some consistently quality coming from the British movie industry over the past decade or so, although it doesn’t always receive the most attention. All best, B.