The Girl on the Train (2021) review – a woeful adaptation

February 26, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Film Reviews, Netflix
1

Summary

A terrible adaptaion of the source material offers a new subplot and twist ending that are too ridiculous to be believed, alongside an aimless cast and risible dialogue.

1

Summary

A terrible adaptaion of the source material offers a new subplot and twist ending that are too ridiculous to be believed, alongside an aimless cast and risible dialogue.

The 2016 Hollywood adaptation of The Girl on the Train, adapted from a convoluted potboiler by Paula Hawkins, was not a very good film. But it was a towering cinematic masterpiece compared to Ribhu Dasgupta’s effort, fronted by a woefully miscast Parineeti Chopra and boasting an additional subplot and last-minute twist that is presumably supposed to account for the fact that the source material’s three – count ‘em! – unreliable narrators have been trimmed down to just the one. That kind of decision seems like a crowd-pleasing one, something to make the story of a missing woman a bit more accessible, but it ends up making no difference to an abysmal thriller.

Chopra plays Mira, a lawyer who is driven to drink by traumatic circumstances, and you know she’s seriously self-destructive since she takes to wearing black eye-liner and sobbing over photos of her smug ex-husband Shekhar (Avinash Tiwary) and his new missus. To hide her unemployment and drinking habit from a friend, Mira boards the same London train every day and eyeballs a particular house she can see on the route, crafting a fantasy narrative around Nusrat (Aditi Rao Hydari) and Anand (Shamaun Ahmed), the couple who live there in seemingly perfect contentment. No such luck. When Mira blacks out one night, Nusrat goes missing, and the evidence collected by new character Inspector Kaur (Kirti Kulhari) suggests Mira herself as the likeliest suspect.

This will all sound familiar to anyone who read the original novel or saw the 2016 film, and indeed The Girl on the Train 2021 Hindi Edition stays on the same tracks for much of its runtime, reiterating a story about self-destruction, gaslighting, risible men, and eventually murder. It’s only in one specific plot thread where this version differs, and while you can appreciate the effort to provide a new spin on the material, it’s too ludicrous to be believed and requires some ostensibly dramatic encounters rendered completely inert by flat line readings and ridiculous dialogue.

This is all set in London, for some reason, but the location serves no purpose beyond having a semi-functional rail service, but at least an Oyster card can turn up an important clue. Either way, it’s not a journey worth taking again.