The Girl on the Train15¦ Blu-ray, DVD
Trains. There used to be something quite romantic about travelling on them. Sitting by the window, with a hot beverage in hand, watching the world sweep past you.
You can still do that now of course, but you have to put up with a person next to you talking ear-piercingly loud on their phone; the person opposite falling asleep into a greasy kebab; the person next to them who just stares - at you; and getting a seat next to the loos that are leaking unpleasant smells. And that's if you can get a seat at all with everyone squished in overcrowded carriages like angry sardines.
British author Paula Hawkins has obviously been stuck on the odd commuter train or two, as she wrote the best-selling The Girl on the Train, which also happened to be the most borrowed book from UK libraries in 2016, fact fans.
With that kind of success it was only a matter of time, and a huge carriage full of cash, for Hollywood to turn it into a film.
Like most people, Rachel (Emily Blunt) spends a lot of time commuting into the city. During the journey she stares out of the window, but instead of taking in the views, she's fixated with one house and the couple who live within its walls.
It's not quite as creepy as it sounds; she used to live in the house next door with her husband Tom (Justin Theroux) until their divorce. He still lives there, with a new woman in his life, Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), and their new-born baby.
Rachel is still struggling with their break-up, and continues her on-going relationship with alcohol to help ease the pain. Her drinking also leads to her turning up on her ex-husband's doorstep, and phoning constantly, which is not appreciated by the couple.
Looking out of the train window on a daily basis, at the life she used to have and should still have, she notices Tom's neighbour Megan (Haley Bennett) and her husband Scott (Luke Evans). They appear to have the perfect relationship, fuelled by an abundance of love and passion. But when Rachel catches her in the arms of another man from her train window, she realises that everything isn't quite as it seemed.
This notion is confirmed when Megan mysteriously disappears; unfortunately, due to her meddling in her ex-husband's affairs and regularly turning up on his doorstep in an inebriated state, Rachel finds herself in the middle of the investigation. To make matters worse, she has no memory of events, so isn't sure if she's involved or not. Could she really have had something to do with Megan's disappearance?
Director Tate Taylor begins this journey by creating a modern day film noir feeling; his protagonist finds herself in a scenario that she is struggling to remember, and through the use of flashbacks, a picture is slowly revealed as to what actually happened. It's a solid device for a film of this ilk, however Taylor lacks the skills necessary to pull it off with any competency.
With a whodunit, it's usually customary to have a big reveal at the end. Unfortunately, due to the limited number of characters in the story, audiences will know long before then; you don't need to be Sherlock (or even Mrs Hudson for that matter) to work it out, and once you have, it sucks out all the thrills the film blindly attempts to include in its second half.
Even if you don't - you will, but for argument's sake go with it anyway - Taylor's approach feels dated, with the drama, and it has to be said a lot of the acting, turned up all the way to eleven, unnecessarily. So much so that in places it feels more like a parody of a drama than anything else.
Its one saving grace though is Blunt and it's easy to understand why she took the gig; she manages to get right under the skin of the character, and bring all her faults into the light. Rachel is flawed and Blunt tunes in to each and every one of them with pure skill. It also has strong female performances throughout, which can only be a good thing.
It's a shame then that the film puffs out its chest in a failed attempt to impress, delivering the cinematic equivalent of hot air.
At some point, with its journey from the page to the screen, this project went seriously off the rails and ultimately isn't worth catching.