Imagine you are on a train. Just when you get comfortable letting the journey take you to your destination, the train changes its route. When you panic over it, the train suddenly changes course again, and again, and again, and again. In the end, you reach a destination, and it’s not the one you originally intended, but it’s a good one nonetheless. That, my friends, is what watching The Girl On The Train feels like.
Starring Parineeti Chopra, Aditi Rao Hydari, Avinash Tiwary, and Kirti Kulhari in principal roles, this Netflix film is based on Paula Hawkins’ eponymous novel. Mira (Parineeti Chopra) is a lawyer who loses her baby with her husband Shekhar (Avinash Tiwary) and her memory. Devastated, she takes to drinking after her divorce, and following her now-ex-husband, and becoming increasingly violent. The only good part of her day? A train journey during which she passes Nusrat’s (Aditi Rao Hydari) house, and sees her seemingly perfect life.
One day, Mira watches something disturbing from her train window, something that makes her lose control, leading to her blacking out. When she wakes up, she is wounded and is accused of murdering Nusrat. Other suspects include her drug-addicted husband and her psychiatrist. Seems like a straightforward story, doesn’t it? Wrong.
Ribhu Dasgupta has made excellent use of her direction, and the music to set up a mysterious and thrilling environment in the span of the entire film so that you can never look anywhere else, as you will miss something important if you do. There are secrets upon secrets, connections we never deemed possible, and alcohol abuse which makes us hate and simultaneously pity Parineeti’s character at the same time.
That being said, there are inconsistencies or lazy writing at some points – slang which seems weird in a character’s mouth, a person in law who forgets to destroy incriminating evidence – but that doesn’t take away from this 2-hour journey which makes it one of the most entertaining watches of 2021.