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Review

'Girl on the Train' goes off the rails in film noir journey

Movie review: 'The Girl on the Train' loads too many cliches on board

"The Girl on the Train" aspires to be a film noir in the vein of "The Usual Suspects," but it proves to be a paper-thin plot ornamented with distractions: a nonlinear narrative, unreliable narrators, flatulent dialogue and awkward post-production work.

Filmmaker Danny (Henry Ian Cusick) is traveling to interview Holocaust survivor Morris Herzman (David Margulies) for a documentary. Onboard an upstate-bound train out of New York's Grand Central, Danny becomes captivated by Lexi (Nicki Aycox). First he stalks her. Then she tasks him with stalking two men.

The time-jumping narrative — in which Danny recalls events in bursts of flashbacks to Det. Martin (Stephen Lang) — leaves little mystery as it establishes from the outset that femme fatale Lexi's looks are deceiving.

Writer-director Larry Brand is all too eager to show off his cleverness. Bad dialogue and Cinemax aesthetics make all the clichés seem even more clichéd.

Supposing there's a point to the film, it might be to not let facts get in the way of a good story. Morris seems to have been inspired by Herman Rosenblat, a Holocaust survivor whose memoir turned out to contain fabricated elements. Brand attempts to draw a parallel between Morris and Lexi, but there's hardly any similarity aside from their pathological lying.

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'The Girl on the Train'

MPAA rating: R for language and violence

Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Playing: At Downtown Independent, Los Angeles

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