Off the Beaten Page: Film adaptation of “The Girl on the Train” in the works

The popularization of turning thrilling suspense novels into films is one that has been on the surface for the last few years. Novels like “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “Gone Girl,” and “The Martian” have startled their audiences with jarring plot twists and elaborate plot arcs. Now, Paula Hawkins delivers a more domestic thriller that will leave readers on the edge of their seat.

At first, the novel appears to be one that just addresses infidelity, affairs, and polyamorous situations. The peripheral vibe of the novel seems to be one that thrives on jealousy and cheating, but it becomes so much more than that. “The Girl on the Train” is told in the perspective of three different women who are all linked…I refuse to give any spoilers, you just have to read to find out. The book quickly turns from a women’s novel of distress and romantic turmoil to a gripping tale of a mysterious disappearance.

This book covers issues such as misogyny, alcoholism, and nontraditional marriages, which add a psychological layer to the depth of the novel. The novel is also heart-wrenchingly accurate in how the different women are portrayed, each narrative succeeding in the expression of the character. While the convoluted plots may appear to be overzealous at first, they all work well together and balance properly with the very fast pace of the story.

Currently, “The Girl on the Train” is in the works for a film adaptation with Emily Blunt in the lead role. While the film is not set to be released until October 2016, audience are eagerly anticipating the movie. Why? With the success of “Gone Girl,” psychological thrillers have gained a strong appeal with readers and watchers alike. The structure of these novels attack large social issues without even trying.

“The Girl on the Train” observes blatant sexism in the coolest, most nonchalant of ways. It is almost as if we are not supposed to notice it. Women are portrayed as weak to the iron fist of men in this novel, which is intentional on Hawkins’ part. She creates the opposite of a feminist utopia, one where women are devalued to only a spousal pleasure, which makes the reader question their own social standing in relationships.

I encourage readers to pick up this novel before the movie hits theaters in less than a year. It is predicted to be a box-office hit, and after keeping the number one spot on the New York Times Bestseller list for 13 consecutive weeks, I think that is a great possibility.

Waiting for Intermission: Review of “13 Score” and “House of Oddities: The Story of the Atrocity Exhibition”

Monday night became movie night for many of Chatham’s film students and faculty as they gathered in Eddy Theatre to watch independent films from their colleagues. The first film reviewed by the Chatham Community was “13 Score,” directed by Don Gabany and Chatham faculty member Max Walters.

A classical horror movie that didn’t disappoint on the blood and gore, “13 Score” was able to mark itself in classic horror of the film world. From an awkward first date, undercover police, and professional wrestlers affiliated with the mob, no one was safe from the cursed anniversary at Conley Lake.

Sacrifice and love, literal heart snatching, and zombie fighting make this film stay at a fast pace. For setting, traditional western Pennsylvanian hills create an ominous feeling in the crisp air of a fateful Halloween night. With a little investigation into the paranormal, the viewers find themselves asking if we truly need to know what is in the beyond.

I was never much for gore or horror growing up, but the story and plot of “13 Score” intrigued me enough to keep me watching through the blood. The idea of a lingering curse of cannibalism with an unknown origin could keep any classic horror fan entertained. With an added bonus of the 1753 curse turning unsuspecting carnival lovers into flesh-eating zombies, “13 Score” kept it classy.

The second film of the night, “House of Oddities: The Story of the Atrocity Exhibition,” was from another of Chatham’s faculty members, Brian Cottington. Where “13 Score” was strictly blood and gore narrative film, “House of Oddities” is a wonderfully unique documentary film.


As the story of the Atrocity Exhibition from its first year to its fifth and current year, it is a living art collection of the fantastically strange and bizarre–located right in our fair city of Pittsburgh.

This particular year had been inspired by Steampunk Industrial and the film give an in depth look into the performances and the lives of these beautiful individuals.

Talking with Cottington before and after watching the film, there was a personal feel to the documentary. What audiences often forget within films are the individuals behind the masks of the characters they play.

However, when the viewers are given a rare opportunity to see the mask removed, there is a moment for real life empathy. Audiences can usually experience empathy when the film’s realm of imagination is replaced with the concept of realism.

Most documentary films can achieve concepts of realism easily, but “House of Oddities” maintains the concept of realism while letting artistic imagination run freely. These individuals become more than performers on a heavily lit stage and are able to redefine the meaning of family.

“13 Score” : 2.5/5

“House of Oddities: The story of the Atrocity Exhibition” : 4/5

Waiting for Intermission: Review of “The Judge”

Small towns seem to be the theme for this year’s film releases in the box office. Typically, the main character comes back to a life they wish to forget because there’s a problem at home that he or she chooses to forget by remembering all the problems they have at home, only to realize that they aren’t solving anything by running away from the past. It gives the impression that filmmakers want to have the audience remember where their roots are, even if the memories are too painful for them to bring up.

Hank Palmer, a successful lawyer of Chicago–and therefore one of the most despised men in the game, gets pulled back into his hometown because of the death of his mother. All of his problems that he drove away from one fateful night, 20 years ago, come crashing on him like a beat-up pick up truck. Including his father, Judge Joseph Palmer.

His old life and his old room make Hank regret what good memories he has with his father. After one more argument and insult, Hank finds himself on the plane back home when he gets a call from his oldest brother. His father, a judge for 42 years, is being tried for murder of the first degree.

Swallowing what little pride he has left, Hank returns to the rolling corn fields of his childhood to watch as his father gets bullied by the law for a crime he doesn’t remember committing. Hank, a charismatic lawyer of the Windy City, willingly goes down the dismal road of memory lane to be on the trial of his life.

Robert Duvall (best known for his work in classical movies such as The Godfather, The Godfather II, Apocalypse Now, and Deep Impact) portrays the character Judge Joseph Palmer, who reins his house and his boys just like his courtroom.

His sons (portrayed by Robert Downey, Jr., Vincent D’Onofrio, and Jeremy Strong) all had different views of how the house should run. Rules are what run the country; rules are what ran the house during Hank’s childhood.

While watching the film, I was waiting to see which character would tell the other the giant, “I’m sorry”–the apology that the audience waits for in the conclusion.

Who gets the most sympathy from the audience? The law bound judge, the mentally challenged younger brother, the delinquent turned lawyer, or the brother with the stolen dream? Family issues arise, as the past never seems to be forgotten when unwanted, while the truth remains a distant memory. When the plot slowly begins to unravel and the questions are soon answered, I noticed the impeccable similarities between Hank Palmer and Joseph Palmer. It is ironic that Hank became the man from which he tried to run away.

Rating: 4/5