Bollywood Review: THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN Is A Big Swing, But An Even Bigger Miss
The Girl On The Train is an absolute disaster. The new Netflix original movie is an official remake of the 2016 starring movie, based on the book of the same name. I haven’t read the book or seen the Hollywood version as of yet, but the Bollywood version is very lacking. Or rather, has too much going on. So I will try to limit my review to the performances and direction or this iteration. Ultimately, this movie was more frustrating than bad. And it ended up leaving me with a total apathy about what happens in a murder-mystery movie, which is a complete failure of the movie itself. So here is my The Girl On The Train review
The Girl On The Train Review Focuses On Its Convoluted Premise
Based on the 2015 novel of the same name, The Girl On The Train is all about Mira (Parineeti Chopra) a former lawyer who ends up an alcoholic divorcee with amnesia. If you feel like this is a lot for a character to go through, don’t worry, as only two of these three aspects of the character have any relevance to the story. Bitter about her divorce and life due to past trauma, Mira aimlessly rides the train every day, jobless and lost. She fixates on the seemingly perfect life of a unknown woman (Aditi Rao Hydari) whom she sees from afar in her home during her ride every day.
Suspecting this stranger of cheating on her husband, (or boyfriend, she can’t really know) Mira goes to confront her one day in a drunken ‘rage’. The quotations refer to Chopra’s complete and utter inability to hit these points of the performance. The result is more laughable than whatever the intention was. Long story short, the woman is dead, with all evidence pointing to Mira as the killer. (She’s still not arrested until way too late though.) And she can’t remember a thing due to either being too drunk, or too amnesiac. So the story follows how Mira has to unravel her own whereabouts, while investigating what happened to the girl, on top of her dealing with her own amnesiac, alcoholic issues. It’s a lot. It’s too much, really.
Parineeti Chopra Tries Really Hard, But No Points For Participation Here
The main lead of The Girl On The Train is horribly miscast. Either that or the director makes choices in her performance that don’t connect or land. Parineeti Chopra plays Mira, mostly with a rage-filled expression. Which is out of context for what’s going on, but also what her character is supposed to be feeling. She is angry at her ex-husband, which is understandable, I guess. She is angry when confronted by the police as if they’re wasting her time. And also angry while taking shots in a club. Let’s not even get into the angry dancing. It’s as if Chopra, or her director’s only reference point for grief is that one emotion. Which isn’t to say it’s not valid, but in a movie with 9 different plot points, you’d expect a bit more nuance.
Kriti Kulhari is much better, and almost counteracts Chopra’s disappointing performance. But it’s Aditi Rao Hydari’s performance, in a guest appearance, that totally steals the show. As usual, Hydari has to perform without much dialogue. And almost always in sequences that involve her just looking pensive and staring off into nothing, in a beautifully framed shot. And she crushes it! I feel Hydari as the lead of The Girl On The Train could’ve provided much more balance and nuance to the performance of Mira.
The Direction Lacks, And At Times Is Detrimental To The Movie
The Girl On The Train review will focus a bit on how scatterbrain this movie is. The camera work at times is dizzying and nauseating. There’s an entire bathroom sequence where you only see Mira through mirrors. They do a Point Of View shot when Mira’s drunk, which is just plain silly. Other aspects of the movie go out of their way to pull the audience completely out of the story. Such as the placement of the song sequences. After a particularly huge dramatic plot twist, it abruptly cuts to a cheerful song montage, which is meant to be sad.
It’s so abrupt I had to do a double-take, to make sure Netflix didn’t just glitch to a different movie. So many continuity errors, that my 12-year old got fixated on during our viewing. Plot holes and inconsistencies galore and obvious enough for my 8-year old to not be able to get over.
The best example of what a mess The Girl On The Train, is through makeup of Mira. The way that the movie decides to visually represent Mira’s troubled life is by caking on 3-inch thick eyeliner on Chopra’s face. It’s a dramatic and drastic difference that is so incredibly superficial, that it completely sets the tone for how the rest of the movie plays out. She’s always drunk, blacking out, and has amnesia, but can somehow paintbrush her face with shiny eyeliner every day. It looks like she’s moonlighting as Batman, but without the cowl. It’s distracting and unnecessary.
The Girl On The Train is now streaming on Netflix. But you’re probably better off watching the Hollywood version with Emily Blunt.
What did you think about The Girl On The Train? Let me know in the comments below, or on my Twitter @theshahshahid.
Featured image via Netflix.