It is immediately easy to draw comparisons between The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl. Both were hugely successful books and were quickly optioned into being adapted, both feature an unreliable narrator and both feature a relatively inventive ending (although arguably Gone Girl‘s ending is far more muted and psychologically unsettling compared to The Girl on the Train‘s slightly schlocky turn of events). It is interesting then, that the film’s teaser trailer appears to be infused with a rather Fincher-esque tone and mood given the nature of the book. Certainly The Girl on the Train is a thriller, but for much of the book, it is the narrative’s quiet, reflective moments that help to build tension and mood. Rather than beginning with some sense of normality to contrast, the trailer immediately creates a sense of horror. The feeling of foreboding, so intelligently developed in the book, is missing and in its place is a trailer that is operating all on one level.
That is not to say that the trailer does not impress, certainly its cast which includes the sublime Emily Blunt look wonderful and the editing is slick and clinical. Rather, I simply find the film’s chosen marketing campaign interesting given the huge success of the source text. Take, for example, the chosen start of the trailer. Rather than focusing on Rachel (Emily Blunt) who is really the protagonist of the novel despite the multiple narrators, the trailer selects Megan, the young woman who Rachel obsesses over. The film seems almost too eager to set itself up as a thriller rather than begin with the mundane. Think to the opening of Gone Girl, the dull routine as we see Ben Affleck’s character take the bins out to the front of his house, for a thriller to work you need to have tedium to juxtapose with.
I’m hoping that this is just a marketing decision rather than an insight into the direction of the film itself. Certainly the scenes in which Blunt’s Rachel is desperately searching to see Megan from her position on the train looks wonderfully choreographed. The dreamy tone set to a unsettling remix of Kanye West’s ‘Heartless’ hints at the possible nature of the film, and I hope it is this that gives us a greater insight into the end result rather than the trailer itself.