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Slow train coming

January 8, 2017

Tate Taylor’s The Girl on the Train raised fundamental questions about genre for me.

Girl is supposed to be a suspense film. But I felt that it’s a suspense film that has little if any suspense. I watched director Taylor hanging on by his fingernails, expending most of his directorial energy trying to make sense of the plot. Taylor’s non-mastery of the genre makes Alfred Hitchcock’s mastery of the genre really stand out.

Alfred Hitchcock was after all the master of suspense. Hitchcock’s stock-in-trade hinged on when things stopped making sense.

An inciting incident provided a point of entry for Hitch to lead us down his own private rabbit hole. From this vantage he was able to push his audience’s psychological hot buttons. His was a cinema built on voyeurism and manipulation.

Think Psycho and what’s the first image that pops into your head? Perhaps a shower?

Glimpse a bird alight on a fence and you immediately cast a wary glance skyward.

Watch out, The Birds is coming.

 

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