Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for the buzzkill double-bill of The Girl on the Train and The Birth of a Nation.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers. First on the docket: The Girl on the Train. An unhappy divorcee makes up stories about the people she sees on her daily commute, then becomes entangled in the case when one of them goes missing.
The Girl on the Train is such a pedestrian mystery that, never having been anywhere near the novel, it took me approximately 23 minutes to clock exactly how it was going to play out...and that was far from my final check of the time, believe me.
Emily Blunt plays the titular girl as a sloppy, irritating drunk, and the supporting characters are so odious it's impossible to care what happens to any of them. (Though I'd forgive Luke Evans for pretty much anything once he started peeling off those clothes.)
A few laughable bits--including a full-on Cameron Frye moment in a gallery--spell a miserable whole that plods along with varying versions of events. Who's telling the truth? Who's lying?
You'll stop caring long before this mess crawls to its predictable finish. About the only things The Girl on the Train has to recommend it are a properly menacing score by Danny Elfman and a couple frames of Evans' glorious bod.
The Girl on the Train runs an excruciating 112 minutes and is rated R for "violence, sexual content, language, and nudity." The Girl on the Train is a slow, dull exercise that made me want to throw myself on the tracks.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Girl on the Train gets four.
Fangirl points: Luke Evans. Luke Evans' abs. Luke Evans' bottom.
Also, a girl in a Damned shirt...yay! Next up: The Birth of a Nation. The true story of Nat Turner, a slave and preacher who orchestrated a rebellion in 1831.
The Birth of a Nation is difficult to watch, and more than once I had to look away from the brutality and abuse. Performances are fantastic across the board, with Nate Parker and Aja Naomi King outstanding in the leads, and Armie Hammer his usual reliable self in an important supporting role.
Turner's Christian faith is central to the story, but the movie also exposes the contradictory nature of the Bible and those who presume to speak for their gods.
The subject matter is unpleasant enough to make the film feel much longer than it is; for the duration I kept thinking the last thing we really need right now is yet another reminder of how horrible people can be to one another.
Only afterward did it occur to me, maybe exactly what we need right now is a reminder of what happens when people are encouraged to treat others as less than themselves.
The Birth of a Nation clocks in at an even two hours and is rated R for "disturbing violent content and some brief nudity." The Birth of a Nation is a well-acted picture with a timely, important message, but, sadly, none of that makes it a truly great movie.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Birth of a Nation gets five. .
Fangirl points: The aforementioned Armie Hammer. Mark Boone Junior (Bobby Elvis)!
Until next time...