The Girl on the Train instantly had two things going for it within my brain. It features two actresses that will get me in the theater no matter what the film’s subject matter is about. I’m respectfully talking Emily Blunt and Rebecca Ferguson. Ever since Edge of Tomorrow, Sicario and Mission Impossible Rogue Nation I’m a sucker for both of them. Second, Entertainment Weekly talked so highly of this feature this past fall that it instantly warranted my attention. No. I take that back. Their praise of The Girl on the Train absolutely demanded my undivided attention. Here we are now. The moment is upon us once again and I’m eager to blow this train’s whistle now on HD Blu-ray. So let’s stop this Blu-ray train and get on already!
The Girl on the Train is billed as a mystery/thriller/drama. It’s directed by Tate Taylor off a script written by Erin Cressida Wilson. That’s all of course courtesy of the property which it was adapted from. I’m referring to the 2015 debut novel of the same name by Paula Hawkins. Now just think about this for a quick moment. The novel came out in 2015. The filmmakers really wasted no time getting this off the ground and running. I wish everything in life was that productive. Ha! Last but certainly not least, in addition to Emily and Rebecca the movie has a grand roster of names. They include Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux (Aniston’s squeeze), Luke Evans, Allison Janney, Édgar Ramírez, Lisa Kudrow and Laura Prepon.
So you’re probably thinking to yourself great we have some decent household names. However, what do they all have to do about a girl and a train? Relax! I’m getting to that part. Emily Blunt stars as Rachel Watson. Rachel is a lonely and alcoholic divorcee who takes the train to work every day. That kind of sounds like a lot of us worker drones in life, huh? Absolutely! And like us all she spends her commute time fantasizing and day dreaming. In this particular story here she fixates on a young couple living down the street from her ex-husband (Theroux). Then one fateful train ride, she sees something shocking. It triggers something within her. The beast is freed and she kind of goes into beast mode herself. As a result she finds herself entangled in a mystery, one that alters the lives of everyone involved. Now we’re getting to the good part!
The Girl on the Train is a mind trip, a delicious hot mess of fun, double-crossing, twists, abuse, sex, manipulation, lies, deceit, neglect, reveals and so much more. In other words, it’s everything that makes a great movie! There’s so much I like about that I wasn’t the least put off by the film’s slow moving narrative. It managed to grip me instantly and soon as we rolled into Act 2 I was smitten and hooked. The movie’s obviously a work of fiction, but the premise isn’t so far fetch when you really think about it. I mean, we all day dream, right? We all find ourselves staring at people in public. We often find ourselves wondering what other’s lives are all about when we find them intriguing. Don’t lie. It happens to me and I’m willing to wager anything that it happens to you. That’s what makes The Girl on the Train such a worthwhile ride to me…its realism.
Speaking of realism I love the way The Girl on the Train deals with such subjects such as alcoholism, spousal abuse, neglect and whatnot. It tackles the subjects in such a visceral manner onscreen that it just feels real and genuine. For example, it leaves you feeling wow that’s how it really goes down when someone drinks that much or cheats on you. That pain, that rage, that beast mode we all feel inside is raw and on display here. It’s quite a powerful experience to behold. However, all that’s fine and dandy, but you need good writers and a heck of a cast to pull all of this off. Thankfully, The Girl on the Train has both of these!
Just as I suspected, Emily Blunt was phenomenal in her performance as the damaged Rachel Watson. Take it a step further and the same can be said for the rest of the cast. I could not pinpoint a weakness in any of the players here if you asked me to. They were all believable and authentic in the portrayal of their onscreen characters and the attributes they brought to life. They felt carefully crafted, fleshed and three-dimensional. This is important when we are dealing with dark, raw, emotionally charged subject matter like this. The tiniest blunder can snap that much needed suspension of disbelief. Thankfully that never happens here. I’m adding this to my top list of Blunt films. Ferguson also shows us the manipulative depth she can bring here. As opposed to many of us who know here from Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation she portrays a very different kind of character here. She’s almost an antagonist to Rachel, as Tom’s new wife Anna Watson, but in reality she’s so much more. And what else can I say about Haley Bennett here other than the fact that 2016 is clearly her year. I see a very bright future for her.
While I believe The Girl on the Train could have been even greater than it was I’m obviously satisfied with the end product here. I fear some may label this thriller as predictable. I can see that. Yes, it feels like a messy Lifetime movie at times, but one that has been derailed and sexually exploited getting away with what they can’t show on regular cable. There’s also the employment of gripping time shifts that fully fleshes out the narrative. That’s not to deny the crafty use of intertwined plotlines that exemplifies its female leads pitting them squarely against each other. Who can you trust?
The Girl on the Train is a he said, she said, whodunnit kind of a story that has a legit payoff and ultimately won’t keep you in the shadows for long. However, it’s the train ride we take to get there that’s worth the price of admission for me. It’s the satisfaction you feel exiting this movie with everything having fully played out on screen. Finally, it’s those visceral, believable performances that propels The Girl on the Train over that of a subpar Lifetime movie. It’s not perfect and it doesn’t please every crowd, but it’s just enough to captivate my simple mind. If I had one complaint, it would be Act 3 doesn’t go down exactly as I would want. However, it’s still a satisfying conclusion for me. What do you say? Buy a ticket and ride this train? What do you have to lose (besides time, patience and your money)?
- Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC
- Resolution: 1080p
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Clarity/Detail: I can’t wait to partake in a viewing of The Girl on the Train in 4K Ultra HD because it was shot on glorious film. With that being said though things look absolutely phenomenal since there are so many closeups of the pasty white skin on display here. Every pore, hair follicle and imperfection is called out in this presentation. Now you see why I’m so eager to get my hands on the 4K version? Clothing, fabrics and other textures such as wood and leather are incredibly rich and detailed too. Of course with a film presentation you have to keep in mind there are moments of softness, but that’s to be expected.
- Depth: Since this was captured on film it should come as no surprise that depth of field is lavish and favorable throughout this 1080p presentation. Look no further than the landscapes near the Hudson River visible from the train or even the front and backyards in residential locations.
- Black Levels: The black levels are also exceptionally deep and natural throughout the presentation.
- Color Reproduction: Here’s where some people may balk at this presentation, but not me. The Girl on the Train is intentionally bleak and cold at times and manipulated other ways too. There are items that pop off the screen though like red lipstick and certain articles of clothing, etc.
- Flesh Tones: The temperatures of the skin tones are beautifully warm and natural inline with how remarkable the rest of the presentation looks. Gawd! I can’t to experience this in 4K!!!
- Noise/Artifacts: There’s absolutely nothing to nitpick about this presentation in the way of onscreen distractions. There are no nasty artifacts in the print or anything that will deter you from enjoying this near perfect presentation.
- Audio Format(s): English DTS:X Master Audio, French (Canadian) DTS Digital Surround 5.1, Portuguese (Brazilian) DTS Digital Surround 5.1, Spanish (L.A) DTS Digital Surround 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
- Dynamics: Danny Elfman’s music is what sweeps me off my feet here and as it flows harmoniously through the soundstage here with both clarity and priority. Proximity and directionality is also paramount here, but at the end of the day all are just mild nuances as its the dialogue that matters most and is ultimately the key here. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t want to sound like Elfman’s score is da bomb here. It could be much more in my opinion, but ti is what it is. Don’t you hate that saying? LOL. I like it for what it achieves here in the way it matches the onscreen, tragic events.
- Height: There’s very little to brag about in regards to overhead use here with the atmospheric track. Come on, people. It’s a drama film! What do you expect too hear overhead, arrows flying by? Need I say more?
- Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel is more subtle here as it plays off and complements not only the score, but the onscreen events and locations we partake in here. It enhances the viewing environment like it should in a film such as this. It should come as no surprise though the LFE gets employed in the train scenes. Ha ha.
- Surround Sound Presentation: It’s the atmosphere and associated events taking place in certain locations and also the score are that make this drama surround track such a cool, relaxing breeze to listen. It manages to immerse and engulf you the viewer. It empowers you to want to know the truth of things here. Ha ha.
- Dialogue Reproduction: Like I mentioned up above here dialogue is fundamental and paramount here. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that it’s faithfully prioritized and painlessly clear and understandable.
The Girl on the Train Blu-ray set includes never-before-seen deleted and extended scenes and exclusive bonus features allowing audiences to go behind the scenes with the cast for the ultimate in-home movie experience. The feature is housed in 1080p HD on the Blu-ray disc with an included DVD for the Standard Definition version of the film. There’s also a redeemable code for the Digital HD file that can be redeemed both in iTunes and UltraViolet. So for now let’s focus below on all the extras you’ll find on the Blu-ray disc.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes (HD, 17:38) – Here we have the following 14 deleted and extended 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 a 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. As you can see from some of the titles some of these are quite ridiculous. I mean “Rachel Pees”? Umm…yeah cut!
- The Women Behind The Girl (HD, 5:04) – Here author Paula Hawkins and screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson discuss their thoughts on writing the novel, the adaptation process and the importance of maintaining character integrity in the film. Director Tate Taylor also discusses working with these two incredible writers to make sure his vision for the film was represented in the script for this feminine thriller.
- On Board The Train (HD, 11:25) – Here we have a behind-the-scenes look at the strong ensemble cast of The Girl on the Train. Director Tate Taylor and Producer Mark Platt discuss the specific nuances associated with each of the cast members’ performances and Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Allison Janney, Laura Prepon, Lisa Kudrow, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans and Edgar Ramirez take fans through the process of creating their incredible characters.
- Feature Commentary (HD) – Director Tate Taylor goes solo in this optional audio commentary. This is your usual audio commentary with making-of bits, locations, etc. There are some dry spots to be found within the overall commentary.
I’m going to use an acronym I really hate, but its very applicable in this sense. YMMV. I can see why most dislike this thriller and call it sluggish, but I can also see why people like me appreciate it for what it is. That’s right folks The Girl on the Train ain’t going to win any Oscars this year. However, if you’re a fan of the film, then I have great news for you. Universal does it up right with this beautiful Blu-ray HD presentation and let’s be honest with ourselves. There’s only one better way to take it all in and enjoy The Girl on the Train in the home front. That’s the 4K ultra HD disc if you dare! So what are you waiting for? Hit up that pre-order link down below. All others proceeds with caution as this “cautionary” tale of justice didn’t exactly appeal to everyone on the big screen. It’s currently sitting at 43% on everyone’s favorite review site, Rotten Tomatoes. So yeah…YMMV. Enjoy!
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