The Girl on the Train Movie Review Rating: 3.5/5 Stars (Three and a half stars)
Director: Ribhu Dasgupta
What’s Good: A SUPERrineeti Chopra and a chain of various competent performances by the rest of the cast & how limited is the drama when it had every scope of going overboard
What’s Bad: While stitching too many things together, one tends to get disproportionate with certain aspects. While some twists get predictable, there were multiple things left unexplored, which I can’t talk about because *spoilers*
Loo Break: No way you’re even blinking, forget about taking a break
Watch or Not?: My only request, if you decide to watch it after reading my review, is – watch it till the end!
Set in the UK, we see Nusrat (Aditi Rao Hydari) running in a forest from someone, as the scene cuts to an injured Mira Kapoor (Parineeti Chopra) waiting for her train to arrive. Through flashback, we understand Mira is a lawyer married to Shekhar (Avinash Tiwary). Some goons threaten her to withdraw a case we know nothing about.
As things proceed, the story explores Mira turning into a high-functioning-alcoholic. What leads her to choose the path of self-destruction? Amid this, the story introduces a couple of new characters in Nusrat’s psychiatrist Dr Hamid (Tota Roy Chowdhury), her husband Anand (Shamaun Ahmed) & Officer Kaur (Kirti Kulhari). Nusrat goes missing, and going by the usual rules of whodunit thrillers, everyone is a suspect. This is the spoiler-free limit to give you a hint of why you need to go in without knowing anything.
The Girl on the Train Movie Review: Script Analysis
By now, it’s a known fact the story is based on Paula Hawkins’ book with the same name and interestingly, it was labelled as ‘the next Gone Girl’ by many critics. I chose not to watch Tate Taylor’s 2016 film to go without any clue, and that’s the best way if you still haven’t seen the original. Ribhu Dasupta’s screenplay holds the key to the mysterious elements built by the narrative. Filled with non-linear components, the first half sails smooth without any turbulence in the narration; that’s also majorly because of Dasgupta’s buttery screenplay and Sangeeth Varghese’s editing.
Paula Hawkins’ story is full of ‘disguise plot-twists’ i.e. the turns where you feel you’ve predicted the twist but then *imitates explosion*. To back this dark plot that keeps moulding out new mysteries, Tribhuvan Babu Sadineni’s cinematography adds the required and thankfully not overdone gloom to the overall feel.
To the original writer and current team’s credit, despite dealing with subjects as dark as alcoholism, a failed marriage, mental sickness, the feel of the film never gets dull. This one falls in the similar zone Abhay Chopra’s 2017 film Ittefaq. Both of the films were remakes, both of them had a dark undertone throughout, both of them had surprisingly good performances. I liked that. I liked this.
A special shoutout to Subodh Shrivastava and Sanam Ratansi’s (for Aditi Rao Hydari) costumes. Allocating the dark ones for Parineeti, Kirti Kulhari’s authoritative approach ka portrayed by skin-fit jeans, turbans and leather jackets. At the same time, Aditi Rao Hydari’s melancholic aura is kept simple and smart-casuals.
The Girl on the Train Movie Review: Star Performance
Few things work very strongly in favour of the film, and performances are one of them. For me, Parineeti Chopra has always been Hasee Toh Phasee’s Meeta, but I strongly feel Mira is soon going to replace that. All thanks to Pratap Borhade’s make-up, the messy kohl-eyed, ‘always wearing dark shades’ look helped Parineeti to get a grip of her character.
Pari wears Mira as her uniform, delivering an impeccable performance. From a compelling ‘fear face’ to an explosion of emotions in a scene where she reveals the twist to a certain character, in the end, she gets every shade of grey on-point. From Meeta to Mira – from a self-healing scientist to an almost self-destructive lawyer/lover, this should add another benchmark in her filmography.
Starting from Aditi Rao Hydari to Kirti Kulhari, Avinash Tiwary and Tota Roy Chowdhury – the supporting cast packs so many solid performers and all of them have already proved how they could act well. But this film acts as a well-laid platform, where all of them get at least one scene just to portray how well they can do if given a chance.
Aditi’s Mehrunissa in Padmaavat will always remain one of the most underrated performances of our time. She has always been a good actress, and she sticks to the basics without crossing the line of ‘method acting’.
The Girl on the Train Movie Review: Direction, Music
Ed Catmull once rightly said, “Driving the train doesn’t set its course. The real job is laying the track,” and that’s what Ribhudas Gupta has done with his direction. His efforts, of not making this ‘confusing’ by going non-linear at times, are visible from the way he treats the narrative. It’s always a good thing for a director also to pen the screenplay of such stories; that’s how the writing feels more in-sync with what’s happening on screen. Despite all the efforts, this story is such that it would evoke the puzzled feeling in many, impacting their overall likeness towards the final product. I’m not from one of them, but I know there’ll be many out there.
Songs in such films have to maintain a safe distance from the story not to become any hindrance in the viewers’ watching experience. There were a couple of songs, and I didn’t mind a single one. Sukhwinder Singh’s Chhal Gaya Chhalaa matches the plot’s intensity, and it clicks. Neha Kakkar beautifully undersings (for the lack of a better term) with Matlabi Yariyan. Parineeti Chopra’s version for the same song blends in well with the climax. I don’t even remember when was the last time I didn’t mind songs in a thriller. Andhadhun, maybe.
The Girl on the Train Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done; this makes it to the rare list of ‘movie remakes that weren’t a blunder’. It does what a thriller should do, along with some notables add-ons. All three women (and a very talented Avinash Tiwary) individually add a lot to the already breath-clasping story. Highly recommended!
Three and a half stars!
The Girl on the Train Trailer
The Girl on the Train released on 26 February, 2021.
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